Wednesday, 16 March 2011

West Coast Wilderness Railway, Tasmania, Australia

I'm starting to get more into train-related postcards, partly thanks to Ana I think. There's such variety there and trains appeal to my escapistic tendencies. ...and old trains look really cool!

The West Coast Wilderness Railway, Tasmania is a reconstruction of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company railway between Queenstown and Regatta Point. Despite various proposals post 1963, it was not until the 1990s after the demise of the main Mount Lyell Company mining operations, and the downgrading of The Hydro activities of dam building on the West Coast, that some very committed local West Coast people campaigned for the re-instatement of the railway. The new railway recommenced operations on 27 December 2002 under the name of the Abt Wilderness Railway, and was officially re-opened by the Prime Minister of Australia John Howard and the Premier of Tasmania Jim Bacon in 2003.

The new railway terminal in Queenstown is on the same lands as that of the original station yard, and terminates at that point. At Regatta Point the railway station has been renovated and terminatesthere. There was no attempt to vary the original alignment of the railway, except for the vicinity of the 'Quarter Mile Bridge' which is very near Teepookana. The old bridge was washed away in the floods of 1974, and the new bridge for this location is just south of the original.

A number of the original engines used on the line had been reconditioned into running order, but rolling stock was totally new and oriented towards providing facilities for year round tourist operations. There were 5 original ABT steam engines, with ABT 1 and ABT 3 restored in 2001 and ABT 5 restored in 2005, ABT 2 is currently on display in Hobart in a museum and ABT 2 was scrapped into parts for the other engines.

The stamp at the top is from a set of 16 stamps issued in 2008, commemorating the Centenary of Rugby League, this one here being 'Titans'. The stamp in the middle is from a set of 8 definitives issued last year with the title 'Fishes of the Reef - Part 2'. The stamp at the bottom is from a set of 4 stamps from 2005, depicting Australian Wildflowers. This one here is the Common Fringe Lily.

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