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>.

Find our articles below, starting with the most recent ones first:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Media Release

Room in State Budget for Rail Service
Tasmania can afford to build Northern Suburbs Railway without help
Community public transport group, Future Transport Tasmania (FTT), said today that the upcoming State Budget should include funding for the planned Hobart to Northern Suburbs Light Rail service.  FTT added that with the additional GST allocation, plus the desire of the State Liberal Government to create jobs, the railway was an obvious job-creating project that will rejuvenate the Northern Suburbs.  FTT believes that the funding commitment should be made now so that planning can begin, and that initially a relatively small amount of money would actually be needed.

FTT’s view has always been that the Northern Suburbs Railway (or Riverline) project can be funded entirely by the State Government without any need for assistance from the Federal Government or any Public-Private Partnership arrangement.  The cost of the necessary infrastructure and rolling-stock will inevitably take a few years to properly plan and implement, thus enabling it to be spread over a number of years.  FTT said that the low cost of Riverline, less than $100 million, as compared to nearly $1 billion for the Gold Coast Light Rail project, meant that Tasmania could easily afford the project.

Future Transport Tasmania spokesperson Toby Rowallan said: “The State Liberal Government wants to create jobs.  That is completely understandable. Well we have a job-creation project right here that is literally ready to go.  The Hobart-Northern Suburbs Light Rail project is easily affordable over a four-year period.  The business case does have a positive net-cost benefit ratio. We are already spending over $30 million for just one intersection on the Brooker Highway. That amount of money per annum over just three years, would pay for at least the first stage of the Riverline project.  The rail service will give us the equivalent capacity of an additional lane each-way on the Brooker Highway, our most congested arterial road in Hobart. Spending that money on the highway itself will not give us anywhere near that amount of bang for our buck.”

“The Northern Suburbs Railway service will do far more than just improve public transport in Hobart and Glenorchy.  It will create jobs. It will improve land values, encourage investment into higher density housing, and increase new job accessibility. It will also guarantee good transport access for the Macquarie Point development project, a vital part of that project’s future success.  If done properly it will also enable heritage trains and trams to use the line, furthering our tourism sector.”

“Not only can we afford to build the Northern Suburbs Railway without Federal Government assistance, but the cost of not building it is definitely more expensive.  Increasing congestion does have a negative economic impact, and we already know that to build the equivalent capacity into the highway will be more than twice as much.  Even if the Federal Government paid for more road upgrades, it will be good money thrown after bad, as there will be no guarantee that it would even reduce congestion.  Over the life of the previous Government Tasmania spent over $120 million on Tasrail over a four year period for new trains, no one blinked an eyelid, and rightly so. We can do the same here, finished Mr Rowallan.”

Friday, May 22, 2015

Media Release

Keep our Closed Railway Lines
Future Transport Tasmania Condemns Rail Trail Campaigns
Community-based public transport lobby group, Future Transport Tasmania (FTT), today said that rail trail proposals that involve ripping up existing railway lines in Tasmania should not go ahead.  Both the North-East Railway line from Launceston to Scottsdale, and the Derwent Valley Railway line should be retained, with the intention to reopen them in the future for possible rail freight and rail heritage trains.  The Derwent Valley Line in particular has an enthusiastic and active rail heritage group ready to operate tourist trains to National Park as soon as all the necessary conditions are fulfilled.  To remove that railway line after all the effort of the Derwent Valley Railway Preservation Society would be an ill-thought out decision.  FTT doubts the tourism potential of these two rail trails, especially given the existing unrealised potential of the lines for freight and tourism.

Toby Rowallan, spokesperson for FTT, said; “What the community in both Scottsdale and the Derwent Valley need to understand, is that if these railway lines are pulled up then they are gone forever.  There will be no going back.  The removal of the lines means that there will be no chance to get heavy trucks off the roads in those areas, and no chance to have heritage rail tours come back either.  There are very few cases where a railway line has been rebuilt from an actively used trail.”

“Today we also want to show our support for a new group that has recently been created, called “Keep Our Rail Lines – Tasmania, and we strongly believe in their very simple and clear aim, to keep our closed railway lines.”

“We appreciate that the groups who are lobbying for these ‘rail trail’ proposals believe that under current conditions these railway lines will never reopen.  However the business case for the North East Rail Trail pays no consideration to the cost of increased heavy truck use in these areas in future.  There has been no assessment of the possibility of freight returning to these closed lines.  We have log trucks passing through the Scottsdale area all the time, freight that used to be carried by rail. There is potential for farming produce and possibly bauxite ore that could also go by rail.”

“In the Derwent valley we also have log trucks in use, again another freight task that used to be on rail.  We do not support the rail trail proposal for the Derwent Valley, given that it would condemn the Derwent Valley Railway Society to the status of a static museum for their heritage vehicles, and totally prevent the use of the railway for freight trains in the future.”

“We know that heavy trucks are involved in a much higher proportion of serious crashes than private or light vehicles. We should be doing more to make sure that we reduce the use of these vehicles wherever possible.  We also know that the vast majority of Tasmania’s carbon emissions are transport related. Rail freight is around six times better for emissions than road. The solutions are obvious, and the need is clear.  We cannot afford to lose these railway lines,” finished Mr Rowallan.

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