Rail line has wow factor
Kiwis like what they see for tourism venture
That’s the verdict on the unused Monto-Many Peaks railway line, according to Kiwi rail enthusiast Neil Oppatt and his colleague John Gurney.
The two New Zealander’s travelled to Monto at the weekend to check out the viability of a light-rail tourism business on the 72.5km stretch of line between Monto-Many Peaks that the Burnett Boyne Rail Line Preservation Group wants to transform.
“The line is in amazing condition; out of two other rail lines we have looked at in Australia recently this one looks pretty good,” said Mr Oppatt, founder of Rail Riders Ltd.
“The sleepers and all other elements of the track look great, the views are stunning and we can definitely foresee this becoming a great enterprise,” Mr Gurney, who operates a tourist coal mine, said.
“You have a lot of grey nomads coming through here and they love railways; and if this track is ripped up that’s it gone forever.”
The six tunnels, 39 bridges, bush scenery and removal from any main roads brings a big wow factor, and therefore high commercial interest for the two businessmen.
“You can’t just build a successful rail business on any rail line, but this line is special,” Mr Oppatt said.
Queensland Rail had asked for expressions of interest to demolish the line in April and since then, a letter from the Department of Transport and Main Roads on June 30 said the group was welcome to draft a business plan for the Mulgildie-Mungungo section of the line.
But this section lacks the tunnels and spectacular views.
It also said the tunnels would be better suited to a four-wheel drive tourist venture, and encouraged the BBRPG to include four-wheel drives as part of their own proposal.
Another letter from Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney on Friday apologised for being unable to meet with the two New Zealanders last weekend, and added further stipulations to a business plan they already drafted.
“Proponents will need to provide a more detailed proposal prior to the project being further considered,” he said on Tuesday.
But he also said the project holds promise and he hopes to arrange a meeting with the Transport and Main Roads Department, the North Burnett Regional Council and the investors “to seek more detail on the potential long-term implementation of their proposal”.