Tasmania's tourist rail backers fight plan to create cycle track on disused line at Scottsdale

 

News article: Tasmania's tourist rail backers fight plan to create cycle track on disused line at Scottsdale

Supporters of tourist rail in Tasmania's north-east are fighting plans to turn a section of disused railway track into a cycling trail.

  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Keep the track and build a rail trail/bike track next to the line.  What is it about these people. Rail Trains have stunted public transport and productivity for business in Victoria.  I also think 30,000 is a big number for Tasmania.

Tasmania's tourist rail backers fight plan to create cycle track on disused line at Scottsdale

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  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Rail Trails have stunted public transport and productivity for business in Victoria.
bevans
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
I must of imagined that Kilcunda seemed rather busy with cyclist and tourists the last time I went through there on a bike.....

Also with the recent SGR collapse of late, have we not realised some of us are getting to hasty about running tourist railways everywhere?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Rail Trains have stunted public transport and productivity for business in Victoria.  
bevans
I think you need to get out of your armchair and go check out some of the great railtrails around Victoria and see how much of a community asset they are.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Keep the track and build a rail trail/bike track next to the line.  What is it about these people. Rail Trains have stunted public transport and productivity for business in Victoria.  I also think 30,000 is a big number for Tasmania.

Tasmania's tourist rail backers fight plan to create cycle track on disused line at Scottsdale
bevans
I love the NE line and was lucky to get a single steam ride up up back to Scotsdale (last one I believe). However its time has come and gone. For the line to be of any success as a tourist line it needs to go further into the hills and past the highest points where the scenery is more spectacular.

However Bevans we need to be realistic. The line to Scotsdale is already long for a tourist line at about 70km with another 10-20km or so at least needed to maximise the lines potential. No heritage railway in Australia has been successful with this amount of track age.

The DVR in the Derwent Valley 30km from Hobart have been land locked for over 10 years (or is it 15?)for numerous technical, financial and legal reasons (despite their best efforts) with their DVR line of about half this length. There has been no mainline heritage trains in Tasmania since a few years before PN left and Tasrail does not appear to be in a rush to bring them back and the West Coast Wilderness Railway has struggled to survive. Don River with its conservative 3km of track is probably doing ok but probably thankful their branch line was limited to 3km and I believe currently does not have a rail connection with the mainline due to a previous derailment.

On the mainland, Zig Zag, Mary Valley are all in big financial trouble. How many others have and will be scaled back or closed?

Buffing Billy does ok money wise (I assume) because its location is on the door step of Melbourne, shares a suburban rail line station location, pretty leafy location and assume lower cost rollingstock and because its so popular has been thrown the odd lifeline at times in the past by the govt.

Back in NE Tas there is simply not enough public and govt interest to support such large scale ventures in remote areas away from large numbers of both tourists and locals to support.

The NE line from Launceston to Herrick has numerous small towns along the way and potentially may offer a similar rail trial experience to popular ones in NZ and deliver more income to the local economy.

If there was any chance to run a steam train out of Launceston, a simple return run to Bell Bay would probably be as equally attractive as the NE line without anywhere near the overhead cost. The line is rarely used on weekends, much of the route is not indifferent to the NE line and the alignment is fairly modern so trains speeds are reasonably quick by Tasmanian standards (60-70km/hr) so making a twice a day return trip feasible and not some all day epic venture that puts off some potential users who tour the state on tight schedules. The route lacks long steep hills, so the steam engine maybe able to do each direction on a single tank?

Build the rail trail, at least then the old line corridor will actually get regular visitors and if they get enough number and can replicate the commercial success of NZ Otago, ie one way bike hire and transport, my family will be one them within a few years.
  VRfan Moderator

Location: In front of my computer :-p
I think rail trails are a fantastic idea on closed lines that have no hope of re-opening as an operating railway. Rather than a rusty old line overgrown with weeds you provide a safe way for people to hike or ride their bikes away from busy roads over relatively easy gradients.

As for stunting productivity/public transport, I'd actually like to see evidence of this claim. I was at Mansfield just over a week ago and the station (which has been turned into a museum and information centre) had as many cars parked and visitors departing on their bikes onto the rail trail as I've seen at some tourist railways on an operating day. The museum and rail trail would certainly have far lower operating costs!

I think people also need to be realistic about how many tourist railways can actually be viable in this country. We have a relatively low population density and also a relatively low percentage of that population who are railfans and able or willing to volunteer. A tourist railway also needs to be in a location that attracts a sufficient number of visitors to make it worthwhile.

Since the whole tourist railway concept got going in the late 70's and early 80's, there have been a number of failed attempts. Either they didn't get off the ground or they lasted for a while and then collapsed for whatever reason (lack of revenue, volunteers, etc...) I think its time for people interested in these operations to concentrate on running and improving the existing tourist railways rather than worry about opening new ones.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Agree, I think a few need to look at other options than just running trains or in addition to running trains. Trains cost money, whether volunteer or commercial. The govt didn't make money running steam trains with a dozen or so riders and I doubt neither do heritage groups.

In the case of the NE line, it would take millions to return this line to service and thats just up to Scottsdale where the line is intact and I assume mostly in reasonable condition apart from rotting sleepers. Its taken Oberon 10 years to rebuild 11km of track and rebuild the yard and road crossings.

However the line could take light weight vehicles, such as gangers rail quads and trikes with probably minimal work. Or better still manual driven bikes. Perhaps you wouldn't preserve the entire 70km line for this, but the section through the range on the NE line for example. the ROW could be filled to only having the rail head exposed just enough so dual purpose with push bikes. If the section was to remain open for heavy rail traffic then it wouldn't be a open to bikes. For example the Don River Railway Branch.
  Mad Panda Station Master

Location: NSW Australia
.... What is it about these people. Rail Trains have stunted public transport and productivity for business in Victoria....

Tasmania's tourist rail backers fight plan to create cycle track on disused line at Scottsdale
bevans
These people???  Slow down there sir.  

The "people" with these ideas are usually locals with an interest in their region. Tourism, employment or the like.  Often they are councils or councillors.  Its not like there is some covert group running around with a sneaky agenda??  Following on the successful revival of towns in Victoria and NZ, rail trails are just the flavour of the month at the moment.  Community leaders and people with an interest in regional development are simply latching on to the idea.

"As for stunting public transport and business"    I can't believe for a moment that's the case.  Start with the story of the Beechworth Bakery. Its a wonderful anecdote on how regional areas can revive.
  Mad Panda Station Master

Location: NSW Australia
Keep the track and build a rail trail/bike track next to the line.  What is it about these people. Rail Trains have stunted public transport and productivity for business in Victoria.  I also think 30,000 is a big number for Tasmania.

Tasmania's tourist rail backers fight plan to create cycle track on disused line at Scottsdale
I love the NE line and was lucky to get a single steam ride up up back to Scotsdale (last one I believe). However its time has come and gone. For the line to be of any success as a tourist line it needs to go further into the hills and past the highest points where the scenery is more spectacular.

However Bevans we need to be realistic.....


My guess is the die is cast for this one.  Given the expenditure to date on recreational trails of all types in this region, the government dollar is going to go one way.  Derby currently hosts State and National Championships (MTB) each year.
There is a very public agenda down there, and it isn't heritage rail.

RTT_Rules
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Keep the track and build a rail trail/bike track next to the line.  What is it about these people. Rail Trains have stunted public transport and productivity for business in Victoria.  I also think 30,000 is a big number for Tasmania.

Tasmania's tourist rail backers fight plan to create cycle track on disused line at Scottsdale
I love the NE line and was lucky to get a single steam ride up up back to Scotsdale (last one I believe). However its time has come and gone. For the line to be of any success as a tourist line it needs to go further into the hills and past the highest points where the scenery is more spectacular.

However Bevans we need to be realistic.....


My guess is the die is cast for this one.  Given the expenditure to date on recreational trails of all types in this region, the government dollar is going to go one way.  Derby currently hosts State and National Championships (MTB) each year.
There is a very public agenda down there, and it isn't heritage rail.

Mad Panda

The die is cast because the public want it. Heritage rail in Tas is struggling to look after what they have and they will never generate enough revenue to fund the upkeep of the Scotsdale line. Even when it was open and before PN, they barely ran a trip a year.

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