STAKEHOLDERS working to save the West Coast Wilderness Railway could find out today if they have been successful.
The federal government is expected to indicate in a phone conference today whether it is prepared to front the $5.8 million needed in urgent repairs to keep the heritage railway operating this year.
The heritage railway has been in jeopardy since operator Federal Group broke its 20-year operational lease two weeks ago, citing spiralling maintenance costs.
Tourism minister Scott Bacon said last week the state government may be able to contribute to ongoing maintenance costs - floated at $2 million a year - if the federal government could cover the upfront costs.
Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said he would not contribute the funds unless stakeholders could make a case that it would not fail again.
A group, including the West Coast Council, the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania and the state government, has been working on a business case.
But Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said forming a sustainable business model before the April 30 deadline was an impossible task.
Mr Martin said the group would ask to have the railway funded for two years while a new model was worked out.
"Having it close is unfathomable," Mr Martin said.
"The impact it would have on Queenstown ... it would be like losing Port Arthur."
West Coast Mayor Darryl Gerrity said a decision needed to be made soon to secure the railway's specialised staff and its accreditation.
"It's no good letting it fall over before the white knight comes in," Cr Gerrity said.
A spokeswoman for the state government said it was working with stakeholders to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.