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Partial reopening of Tasmania’s West Coast Wilderness Railway

Partial reopening of Tasmania’s West Coast Wilderness Railway
January 7, 2014

One of Tasmania's top tourist attractions, the West Coast Wilderness Railway from Queenstown to Strahan, known as the Abt railway, has been partially reopened.

The Railway closed in April when the Federal Group walked away from the tourist operation halfway through its 20 year lease.

Since then, $6 million of Federal Government funding has been spent on track upgrades between Queenstown and Dubbil Barril.

As of Monday 6th January, the Tasmanian Government is running half day tours on the upgraded track, while another $6 million worth of work is completed on the line to Strahan.

West Coast Mayor, Robyn Gerrity says it will help revive the region's tourism industry although she is eager for work on the full run to Strahan to be finished.

Mayor Gerrity told the ABC "they're working hard on the other end of it down to Strahan, a lot of sleepers to replace down that end, that's pretty much what it is, once that's done we'll have more tourists and we'll have the old routine going, trains leaving both ends, both from Queenstown and Strahan."

Tasmanian Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne hopes the project will be completed by late March explaining that negotiations with potential operators are continuing.

Minister O'Byrne added "the State Government will work with the two operators that are potentially there to run it, we've got it up and running, we've shown it can work we've shown ticket sales are strong so we're hopeful by the end of this season we'll be able to lock down a operator and a sustainable business model."

For more information go to www.wcwr.com.au/

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