RAIL ON TRACK

DVR gets funds for re­con­struc­tion plan

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES KITTO

DERWENT Val­ley Rail­way sec­re­tary Owen An­drews says there is grow­ing con­fi­dence that the devel­op­ment of a tourist rail­way for the re­gion could be­gin in just a few months.

The State Gov­ern­ment has pro­vided $25,000 to the DVR or­gan­i­sa­tion to en­able plan­ning work to get the rail re­con­struc­tion un­der way.

DVR wants 42km of tracks re-es­tab­lished to ac­com­mo­date a tourist rail­way be­tween New Nor­folk and Mt Field Na­tional Park.

DVR has been work­ing for more than a decade to gain per­mis­sion to op­er­ate trains on a dis­used sec­tion of the Derwent Val­ley line, which in re­cent years has been used for freight ser­vices be­tween Boyer and Bridge­wa­ter.

Mr An­drews said the project had gained mo­men­tum since the or­gan­i­sa­tion be­gan dis­cus­sions with the State Gov­ern­ment af­ter this year’s elec­tion.

“We’ve been work­ing a lot with the State Gov­ern­ment to progress the project,” he said.

“We’re work­ing closely to get what we can out of what the gov­ern­ment promised in a pub­lished pol­icy, which in­cluded ini­tial plan­ning fund­ing.”

Mr An­drews said he was con­fi­dent the project had the sup­port it needed for it to be­come a re­al­ity.

Mr An­drews said he was con­fi­dent the project had the sup­port it needed for it to be­come a re­al­ity.

“We’ve got the sup­port of the Derwent Val­ley Coun­cil and the com­mu­nity, who can see the Val­ley line as a valu­able as­set which will ben­e­fit the re­gion fi­nan­cially and so­cially,” he said.

“We’ve un­der­taken a busi­ness plan and study and are look­ing at ways to repli­cate the West Coast rail­way. We be­lieve that with the DVR in full swing it could pro­vide over 70 jobs in the Derwent Val­ley re­gion.

“It’s an ex­cit­ing time, and the coun­cil is cur­rently as­sess­ing the line. Once the as­sess­ment is fin­ished, the cogs should re­ally start to turn.”

Derwent MLC Craig Farrell said the pro­gres­sion of the DVR project pro­vided an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity for the state’s growth.

“Through talks with the Pre­mier and [In­fra­struc­ture Min­is­ter] Jeremy Rock­liff, it ap­pears there seems to be some mo­men­tum to get the project to the first phase of devel­op­ment,” he said.

“The rail line is one of the great­est dor­mant as­sets in the state. You don’t have to look far to see the ben­e­fits tourist her­itage rail has done in other states.”

Mr Farrell said he hoped to see fur­ther devel­op­ment for the rail line im­ple­mented in the next few months.

“I’m cau­tiously op­ti­mistic. There’s a feel­ing of some sub­stance be­hind the projects pro­gres­sion,” he said.

“We’ve reached a point now where the dots have lined up.”

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