Ron’s donation improving accessibility

2 March 2021|Community News| Off Comments off on Ron’s donation improving accessibility|

IN a boost to heritage rail experiences in the state and to mark the 150th anniversary of Tasmania’s first railway, the Tasmanian Government has announced additional support towards the cost of insurance premiums for Tasmania’s heritage railways.

The State Government assisted with $600,000 to help cover the public liability insurance premiums required to operate visitor rail.

This support, being provided through the Tasmania Association of Tourist Railways, will cover 90 per cent of the cost of premiums in the first year, tapering off to a final 10 per cent over seven years.

“Members of the museum were thrilled to receive news of the Government’s support through yearly subsidies of the Third Party Insurance Premium for the first six years,” Tasmanian Transport Museum Society president Rod Prince said.

The Tasmanian Government also handed over a new lease to the Tasmanian Transport Museum that provided a further five kilometres of unused rail track between Elwick Road and Mentmore Street to expand the heritage rail operations.

“We have been trying to gain access to that part of the Old South Line between Glenorchy and Chigwell since 2015 and finally we have the missing piece of the puzzle,” Mr Prince said.

“I am confident that when our goals are complete in about two years, we will have created a terrific and popular attraction – not only for the people of southern Tasmania, but also national and international visitors.

“However, there is a lot of work to do before the local residents hear the sound of train whistles again.”

Mr Prince said the plan was introduce Hobart Heritage Rail in three stages – first to Grove Road then to Berridale Road and finally Mentmore Street.

“Most weekly charters and weekend services will be serviced by our railcar and there will be 10 to 12 weekends a year when one of our two steam engines will be used with our passenger rolling stock,” he said.

To cap off the celebrations, TasRail handed over a 2118/ZA6 heritage locomotive to the museum to ensure its preservation.

Delivered into operation in 1976 the ZA6 was the last English Electric Corporation locomotive built in Australia, the last new locomotive built for Tasmania, the last diesel locomotive built by the company in the world, and is now part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Following a 200 kilometre journey from TasRail’s East Tamar site in Launceston, the Tasmanian Transport Museum Society has been working on the restoration of the 100 tonne locomotive to get it back on track.

“We are going to need more volunteers to help support and run Hobart Heritage Rail including guards, drivers and reception attendants,” Mr Prince said.

“Anybody interested in helping should contact the museum.”

The Tasmanian Transport Museum was officially established in 1962 when four men convinced the Metropolitan Transport Trust to donate a tram for preservation.

The museum opened in 1983 and since then has amassed an impressive collection of historic trains, trams, trolley buses and steam technology exhibits.

The Tasmanian Transport Museum offers visitors both displays and operational rail exhibits, and volunteers from the Tasmanian Transport Museum Society are dedicated and passionate about preserving and sharing the pieces of history.

“In the 150th year of rail in Tasmania we are happy to work alongside heritage rail operators to provide high-quality visitor experiences and the chance for Tasmanians to step back into the days when rail was king of transport,” Speaker of the House of Assembly Sue Hickey said.

Local Member for Clark Elise Archer said heritage railways played a large part in the state’s tourism industry by being draw card attractions for locals and visitors to Tasmania.

“This announcement means the Tasmanian Transport Museum can confidently continue to operate and provide heritage rail experiences to Tasmanians and visitors alike,” she said.

“I would encourage everyone to visit this great local attraction and experience this magnificent piece of Tasmanian transport history and, of course, enjoy a train ride.”

The Tasmanian Transport Museum is currently open every Sunday from 1pm to 4pm.

School and group visits are welcomed.

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About the Author: Glenorchy Gazette

The Glenorchy Gazette is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 24,000 homes and businesses in the Glenorchy municipality. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

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