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A leading light in Tasmanian heritage railway and tourism tragically passed away Saturday morning.
Niels Brun was the general manager of Devonport's Don River Railway, and his death was regarded as unexpected and tragic.
Don River Railway Society president Paul Templar said Mr Brun's death had come very much as a surprise.
"Niels was probably the most important part of the Don River Railway," Mr Templar said.
"He came to us from a background as a banking executive so he had very much a business focus. While he readily admitted at first he didn't know anything about running railways he very quickly learnt all there was to know.
"He became a leading force in Tasmania with the heritage rail sector. He was instrumental in setting the future direction of the don river railway."
One of Mr Brun's key visions was to connect the heritage line with the main rail line so the Don River trains could travel all the way to Penguin.
In March this year, Mr Brun met with federal Liberal senator Richard Colbeck to present a business plan and seek funding from the government to see that plan go ahead.
"We are now well progressed to operate trains on the mainline between Devonport and Penguin.
Niels Brun, with Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck, Devonport City Councillor Lynn Laycock and federal Braddon MP Gavin Pearce.
"That was Niels' vision and he was able to drive that with TasRail and gained funding from the Tasmanian government and the federal government to ensure infrastructure upgrade needs are met.
"In that respect he'll be quite a loss - heritage railway in Tasmania will have lost a leading figure."
Mr Templar said the staff and volunteers of the railway had ceased operations on Saturday after hearing of his death, but planned to resume work Monday.
This article first appeared on www.theadvocate.com.au
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