TREASURY has made sobering observations on viability of the Heritage Rail proposal. Treasury says the Heritage Rail proposal does not show market research, very limited communication with the National Rail Safety Regulator, and has not justified costs estimates, in the case of public liability insurance by as much as 10 times.
They have not shown the costs of refurbishment. Raylink costed restoration to be near $16 million. Treasury noted the HR group as not having high levels of cash reserves and not having a strong balance sheet.
Viability of repairing the line and running a rail service with volunteer labour and work for the dole participants is questionable given policy uncertainty, training and OHS requirements needed to work on a rail line and on bridges (working at heights).
Treasury costed value of rails and sleepers as next to zero, not the $40 million quoted by HR. The value of the rail corridor is in the land and permanent infrastructure (tunnel, earthworks and sidings).
TasRail said no freight rail is viable on the North-East line.
Dorset Council is well placed to construct and maintain the trail, and its use will generate enough revenue to pay for the modest maintenance costs.
Dorset Council has pursued the option most likely to provide a decent economic benefit to the Dorset community from an asset which has sat idle for decades. Congratulations Dorset Council.
Harry Rigney, Lilydale.
AS someone who has travelled on the North-East railway line on countless occasions in the 1930s and ’40s, it would be interesting to know who were the people involved and how many times they have travelled the line before making their decision. It seems incredible that a moratorium has not been put on the line until after the heritage train has proved successful or not. The jewel in the crown must surely be the tunnel and the beautiful Denison Gorge, why were they left out?
The train needs to at least go to Golconda or Nabowla, the closest to Bridestowe Farm. The train must also leave as close to Launceston as possible for the general public to be able to catch it.
Has any thought ever been given as to whether the train could also be fitted out to carry bikes. Regardless of where the rail line eventually ends, the provision of the train to carry bikes could be of great benefit to both parties, not all bike riders have cars.
J.D. Orchard, Scottsdale.
Has human nature changed?
I HAVE just finished reading Charles White’s 518-page detailed description of convict life in NSW and Van Diemens Land, published in 1889.
I wonder if anything has really changed about human morality and the way our lives are controlled.
White’s vivid descriptions of how the NSW regiment officers were unscrupulous in their manipulation of land grants and use of government supplies has parallels today with the way banks have acted with regard to their customers.
The same seems to apply to the private companies who bought up government owned power, water and transport utilities.
If this proves that human nature has not and will not change then what must we do?
First, protect essential services such as power, water and banking from the capitalist philosophy that profit usurps morality, they should all be owned by the people who pay for their services.
Second, ensure that politicians have absolutely no financial or party affiliations with those who are heavily involved with the profit motive.
Sustainability, not expansion should be our guideline.
I do believe private industry plays has an important part in our lives, but it must not be able to manipulate essential services that we all rely on.
Jeff Jennings, Bridport.
I DON’T believe we attach enough importance as to how much we rely on reliability in our lives. Marriage, friendships, financial institutions, having perishable items like strawberries available when we want them and even governments all sink or swim by it.
Most of us seem to be unaware that our electricity supply also needs it - unfortunately it looks like we’ll never know until we haven’t got it.
A good start could be made by forcing all suppliers to use the unit “reliable electricity” in all comparisons.
We would then have a better idea, for example, as to how “cheap” electricity from solar farms is or how many of the thousands of homes quoted in their claims are willing to accept no power at night or on cloudy days.
Gordon Thurlow, Launceston.
Stand for council
I’VE noticed over a period of time various writers in the letters to editor column are not always happy with our City of Launceston council plans, and voice their opinions quite strongly.
So why not stand for the council elections in October?
I expect the next question is why don’t I stand?
The reasons are many including age, lack of education, not devious enough, probably not politically correct enough, but I will still express my opinion and thoughts through our local newspaper (The Examiner).
In the meantime give some thought to what you personally may be able to contribute to our city in general, the bonus of course, is that you will get paid for the privilege.
Three councils for Tassie is a good start.