For tourist and heritage rail and other third party operators seeking access to the Tasmanian Rail Network, there is now a clear and transparent pathway to operate on both the operational and non-operational lines.
There are two steps to gaining access to an operational line/s:
- Gaining accreditation from the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR); and
- Applying directly to TasRail for a Network Access Agreement with TasRail.
The above steps can be done concurrently.
Under the Network Access Agreement (NAA), TasRail is responsible for the Below Rail operations (including Train Control) with the applicant responsible for its own Above Rail operations and related ONRSR accreditation.
Gaining formal rail safety accreditation to operate from the ONRSR is linked to the specific operations and activities of the NAA applicant. It is essential that access seekers can provide appropriate assurance they have the capability and capacity to meet the requirements set by TasRail with respect to the requested access to that part of the Below Rail Network. These requirements include compliance with safety, technical and operating parameters and a valid Public Liability Insurance Certificate at the threshold level of $250 million.
TasRail complies with the Tasmanian Rail Access Framework Policy which sets out the roles and responsibilities of each party in the context of the Tasmanian Government’s Statement of Expectations for TasRail.
The Tasmanian Rail Access Framework Policy also sets out the Access Charges that are to be charged by TasRail to existing Above Rail operations on the Tasmanian Rail Network and future access seekers that will operate equivalent or similar services. Additional costs may be passed on to access seekers (such as for capital upgrades and ongoing costs brought about by alternative uses) and can be negotiated with TasRail through access or commercial negotiations.
Interested access seekers can submit an expressions of interest for access to NAA@tasrail.com.au
Where a tourist and heritage rail operator seeks to operate on a non-operational line or part there-of, the access seeker should contact the Department of State Growth in the first instance to discuss the potential for access under the Strategic Infrastructure Corridors (Strategic and Recreational Use) Act 2016.
The Strategic Infrastructure Corridors (Strategic and Recreational Use) Act 2016 provides an alternative mechanism to access non-operational lines under certain circumstances and for eligible purposes. This includes for the purpose of operating a tourist and heritage rail activity on a non-operational corridor.
Once a non-operational corridor has been declared to form a strategic corridor, it will change from being a railway line and will no longer be administered under the governance and management framework that applies to the Tasmanian Rail Network. Instead, the strategic infrastructure corridor will be administered under the Act, which establishes a framework to reserve the corridor as a strategic asset for the State and provides for its ongoing management.
TasRail has no involvement in the decisions about the future use of the non-operational rail corridors; and/or the arrangements that are likely to apply between the Crown and a tourist and heritage rail operator.
Until such time as a non-operational rail corridor is declared a strategic infrastructure corridor, it remains part of the Tasmanian Rail Network that it leased to TasRail, and TasRail remains responsible for the management, care and maintenance of that asset.