Federal Group to shut wilderness railway

Federal Group has informed staff that it will stop operating the West Coast Wilderness Railway at the end of April.

The Examiner understands that 48 staff will lose their jobs when the company stops running the heritage railway which was considered an engineering marvel when built in 1896.

It is a massive blow to the Tasmanian region, which suffers a high rate of unemployment.

Federal Group took over the tourist venture a decade ago under an arrangement with the state government.

The government owns the Abt railway infrastructure, including stations at Queenstown and Regatta Point.

As of June 30, 2004 the Tasmanian government had spent $17.4 million and the federal government had contributed $20.45 million.

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