Train-buff pollie aboard

DERWENT MLC Craig Farrell was elected chair of the Derwent Valley Railway at the weekend in a move designed to take the organisation forward.

CRAIG Farrell is the first to say there’s still a lot of work to do with the Derwent Valley Railway.

Mr Farrell was elected Chair of DVR this past weekend, in a fresh move designed to deal with the organisation’s admin- istration which has been at odds with national Rail Safety Office codes.

“We will have a special general meeting, new members and a new board,” Mr Farrell said on Sunday, outlining a comprehensive proposal in New Norfolk.

Mr Farrell was Number 39 of the original foundation members of DVR.

He has a vivid memory of those early days.

“That was back in 1990, and things were moving along quite well,” he recalls. “The railway was running diesel electric and the occasional steam train on trips to National Park.

“Then Pacific National happened,” says Mr Farrell, who in his professional life is Member for Derwent and the President of the Legislative Council.

“When they went out of business, they shut down every- thing in the state lines, rolling stock, the lot and with that, we had no track, nothing.

“We couldn’t even do basic maintenance on railway corridors, rails and sleepers.’’

While the Tasmanian government resolved a freight issue in September 2009 and reinvented TasRail, the “less critical use issues such as for the tourist sector got put aside,” he says.

“Then there was an election, a change of government … we’ve been in a kind of status ever since.”

Mr Farrell says he’s optimistic DVR will be soon headed in the right direction.

“It’s going to take a while, but it’s got to be done,” he told the Derwent Valley Gazette.

“Those of us who love this railway are prepared to put the time and effort to get us back on track.”