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We are here to lobby for better public transport and rail infrastructure in Tasmania. We aim to find solutions to allow all Tasmanians to have environmentally responsible and affordable commuting options to get around our state and towns. A more detailed mission statement can be found in the left column or <here>.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Media release


Tasmania’s railways need a long term plan

Community public and rail transport advocacy group Future Transport Tasmania (FTT) today launched its ‘Vision for Tasmania’s railway future’ at the Tasmanian Transport Museum at Glenorchy. FTT has developed a wide-ranging long-term plan that, if implemented, could ensure Tasmania’s railway system recovers to become an economic strength for the state. The plan is a broad submission designed to show just some of the potential future options for rail in Tasmania.

FTT strongly believes that for the railways to prosper into the future they should remain in Government hands. The last decade has shown that relying on private companies to invest in rail carries considerable risk. With the current world financial climate, it also seems extremely unlikely that a private operator could be found who is willing to invest significantly in Tasmania’s railways.

FTT recognises that implementing its vision would be expensive, but when compared to the cost of building and maintaining highways, investment in rail is far more cost-effective. The vision would also of necessity be implemented over a number of years, and specific elements would require further study before being implemented.

FTT Spokesperson, Toby Rowallan, said; ‘This is our vision for the future of Tasmania’s railways. Whilst it may appear expensive, it is a long-term plan aimed at turning the performance of rail from being a struggling poor cousin of road transport, to becoming a competitive service that enhances Tasmania’s economy. For example, the money being spent on the Brighton bypass and the Kingston bypass would pay for many of the items in the plan. As it stands, the construction of the bypasses will impose additional future maintenance costs. Not only that, but the improvement in travel times made possible by the bypasses, will be completely disproportional to the money spent.’

‘We do not want history to be repeated. The Government has to keep the railways to ensure certainty, for the future growth of rail and the economy. Investment will assist in generating revenue, but it is not essential for a government owned railway to make a profit. What is essential is assisting businesses who are using the railways, so that they can grow and further our economic development.’

‘We understand that the Government did not want to take over the railways, but we applaud them for committing to rail and ensuring its survival. We want the Government to now go beyond that, and create a plan to ensure its prosperity and growth. This will greatly assist Tasmania’s economic growth and success. The railways need new locomotives, new rolling-stock, the tight corners straightened and the steep grades eased. Once that is done, then we will be able to say that the railways have really been saved.’

See the summary below and a link to the full document

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Contacting Future Transport Tasmania

For further information:
Toby Rowallan (secretary) 0418 997 069

Mailing address:
Future Transport Tasmania
Bathurst St. Post Office
PO Box 4515
Hobart 7000