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This story is from Libraries Tasmania News.

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A brief history of how and why L&NER came to be established;

 

In July 2011, the preservation group "Diesel Traction Tasmania Inc." was formally established.  The objects of the new association; 

(1) To preserve, restore, and maintain diesel locomotives within the State of  Tasmania.

(2) To preserve, restore, and maintain, rolling stock, buildings and railway equipment for the furtherance of object (1).

(3) To make available, via lease or exchange, preserved locomotives or rolling stock, to kindred preservation organisations or commercial operators, within terms acceptable to the membership.

 

The founding executive of DTT comprised; a group of rail enthusiasts from all over Tasmania some who have had involvement with existing Tasmanian groups, D.R.R., D.V.R, the founding membership include persons with various mechanical, electrical, and train operation skills and include current and past Tasrail employees.

 

The genesis of the establishing Diesel Traction Tasmania came from online discussions, as it became increasingly evident that Tasrail were preparing to undertake a major clear out of stored locomotives at East Tamar Junction Workshops, many of which comprised out of service members of the "ZA", "ZB" and "ZC" classes, and the established Tasmanian rail preservation societies were unwilling or unable to take action to secure the preservation of any of these locomotives, it became clear that Tasmanian railfans concerned about the potential extinction of these locomotives would have to take independent action to endeavour to take action to secure representative examples of the endangered classes.  While our endeavour is to obtain any English Electric Locomotives possible and other Locomotives, rolling stock and other Tasmanian Railway items are also of keen interest. 

 

Negotiations with TasRail were successful in securing the donation of locomotive 2144 and 2122 which still remain at TasRails East Tamar complex.   Any locomotives successfully secured for preservation will initially be preserved as static exhibits, but with eventual restoration to working order. DTT didn’t initially intend to seek accreditation in its own right as an operator, hence the object, noted above, of providing locos for lease or exchange to existing kindred accredited organisations.

 

DTT did consider the site of the former Launceston Railway Roundhouse, DTT met with the Launceston City Council. DTT did seek permission from to the Launceston Tramway Museum, about running locomotives and rolling stock on their track and If approved a payment scheme would be arranged, the Launceston City Council did not support DTTs plans as it became clear that their priority was to have the Tasmanian University move on site.

 

One of DTT's aims was to work in with other transportation preservation societies, including cross promotion, support for events storage and display options.  DTT did consider that them being on the Inveresk site would allow for possibilities of joining with QVMAG, Launceston Car Museum, Don River, and Launceston Tramway Museum, into a heritage transportation precinct where visitors could have brought a site ticket to view the whole five operations in the one precinct.

 

After it became evident that there was little support for rail restoration and a rail museum on the Inveresk site, DTT then considered the possibility of establishing a heritage depot at Mowbray, tentative negotiations were made and may have come fruition except for the fact that the points and some of the track had been removed at Mowbray Junction, and TasRail appeared not to be interested with restoring access, or donating the required, points, frogs and track for DTT volunteer labour to install.

 

At a board meeting in March 2016 at Providence vine yard, we had four guests from the North East Residents and Farmers attend the meeting, they included Peter Arnold, Garry Farrely and Brenden Thompson, they explained that the Dorset council were proposing to have the rail corridor from Scottsdale to Coldwater creek converted from a railway to a cycleway, and that the track would be ripped up, and that the land owners and residents that they represented were very unhappy with this proposal, and they felt that the best way to stop the rails from being ripped up was to run heritage tourist trains on the line.

 

From these discussions between DTT and NERAF it was decided that gaining access to the North East Line would also resolve some of DTTs issues, such as where to establish our heritage rail operations. It was decided that the name Diesel Traction Tasmania would not reflect our newly desired activities, and the trading name of Launceston and North East Railway was registered, Changes to our rules of association were made, so as L&NER could seek accreditation in our own right, and become a train operator in addition to the founding objectives.

 

Much water has flowed under the bridge since then, hence to say we have been partially successful, and have been given operation of the track from Lilydale to Turners Marsh, the fight still goes on, with L&NER continuing to ensure that the Legislative Council select committee report is fully implemented, with access to other parts of the track identified in the report and NERAFs ongoing  battle is to save the rest of the track from being destroyed and made into a cycleway.