The idea for a Railbug is based on a similar attraction at Maydena in the upper Derwent Valley. They kindly loaned us one of their vehicles to use to get ideas for our own design. Our long-time member Greg Stewart, with the help of Ian Nicholas and Ross Broomhall designed and built the prototype and had CAD drawings prepared that reflect the finished product.
Once the accreditation and engineering certificates are completed, an additional two vehicles will go into production. Wheels for these have already been purchased, thanks to a very generous financial contribution from one of our Members and the next two Railbugs are now in the first stage of being built.
The Railbug prototype as presented to the Board in October 2020.
Going for a Ride
The Railbug will soon operate out of our Turner’s Marsh site, which is situated just a short drive from Launceston CBD. Turner’s Marsh is currently the Southern terminus of our 12.5km line; the Eastern end is at Lilydale Station. Much work has been done to tidy up the site, remove rubbish dumped there and to clear undergrowth and potential fire hazards. Parts for the construction of a siding are already on-site, as are stacks of steel sleepers received from TasRail.
The only remaining original feature is the heritage listed station platform. It is significant, because it is made of bluestone quarried at the now Penny Royal site, at the mouth of the Cataract Gorge in Launceston.
Visitors will be able to pedal their Railbug through bushland, along cliffs and precipices down to Waddle’s Road crossing and back, taking in spectacular views and getting some leisurely exercise. Riders will travel in groups, accompanied by a qualified marshall on our historic WG trolley motor. The end of the line is at Waddles Rd which is just short of Karoola bridge. This is currently unfit to carry any traffic. Preliminary assessments and plans are underway and it will be restored in due course.