Welcome to Future Transport Tasmania

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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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hobart - Launceston Fast Passenger Rail

On Sunday in the Examiner Newspaper we were quoted regarding the potential re-introduction of passenger rail services between Hobart and Launceston.

One of our key points is that it would be cheaper to upgrade the railway line and purchase fast trains than it would be to build a four-lane highway along the entire route.  We believe this would be far more cost effective than upgrading the highway.  We believe that if a four-lane highway is being considered, then so should an alternative.  Our alternative is faster, safer, reduces emissions and oil price vulnerability.  It would also make it easier for all Tasmanians and tourists to get around our state.

With the launch of our new logo and a logo for the Fast Rail idea, it's timely that this issue is once again in the public domain.
In 2009 we released our vision for Tasmania's railway future.  This document will be updated within the next few months.  We are also going to prepare a more detailed document regarding the fast rail proposal.  In the meantime, below is an extract from the vision document, which describes how we envisaged a Launceston to Hobart Fast Rail service might work.

Hobart - Launceston Express Train
A significant improvement in travelling times could be gained with the re-alignment of the southern section of the main line, and relevant deviations elsewhere (eg. Andover and Vincents Hill).

This would be necessary before any potential passenger rail services are considered.

Currently a significant amount of Government and business activity between Hobart and Launceston involves regular travel in private vehicles. The possibility of a fast and regular railcar service should be investigated. It would be essential for such a service to be much faster than it currently takes to travel by road between Hobart and Launceston.

As an example, a service operating four times per day, each way, would enable people to travel from Hobart to Launceston and return the same day. The train would have an on-board café, and business seats with internet and telephone connections.

A new railway station would obviously be required in both Hobart and Launceston.

Fully integrated bus connections would be established to various critical centres throughout Hobart and Launceston, including airports.

The railcars should be constructed to a similar standard as that of the Queensland Rail diesel tilt train (investigation into the viability of Tilt technology should also take place), and be able to travel at speeds of up to 140-160 km/h or more in regular service.

The principle advantage of the new service would therefore be its ability to be faster from Hobart to Launceston than travel by bus or car. Secondly, business people would be able to continue to conduct business whilst travelling.

Business could be encouraged to establish a convention centre in towns where the trains from Hobart and Launceston crossed. This would have the added benefit of cutting travelling times to meetings, and increasing the available time for such meetings.

It would also have the added benefit of promoting business activity in these towns.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or comments on the above.



  1. No reason why we could not also investigate a Launceston to Hobart three rail dual narrow guage/standard guage track between th two cities with imported retired Japanese vehicles. The Japanese demolish their vehicles after retirement to keep the fleet young and fresh. We could import eight retired units complete with carriages and run them at a slower pace, say 225 km/hr, given their maturity.

  2. Hi Foxhawk, please see one of our earlier posts regarding narrow vs standard gauge. The money saved in second-hand trains would be far outweighed by the cost of relaying the track for standard gauge.


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