Rail line has wow fac­tor

Ki­wis like what they see for tourism ven­ture

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

IT’S MAG­I­CAL.

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”.

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