Tourist railway canned

By Chris Thomson | posted on July 26, 2018

KOJONUP’S tourist railway has ground to an indefinite halt because it does not meet the insurance demands of a Federal agency based in Adelaide.

In a briefing paper to Kojonup Shire councillors – some of whom have very hands-on roles with the railway – Shire regulatory services manager Mort Wignall this week explained the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator had written to demand adequate public risk insurance be maintained to meet “reasonable potential accident liabilities”.

“Failure to address this matter within five days of the date of the letter (10 July 2018) would result in [the Adelaide-based regulator] requesting us to voluntarily suspend all rail operations until such time the situation is rectified,” Mr Wignall advised.

Yesterday, Shire CEO Rick Mitchell-Collins told The Weekender the railway had stopped operating.

“The railway will be closed until such time as we can ensure the railway committee becomes the accredited agency with the Authority,” he said.

Mr Mitchell-Collins said that might take anywhere between six and 10 months.

“Our hands are effectively tied,” he lamented ahead of the busy wildflower season.

“We’re dealing with the national regulator.

“We have got a tourist train that does 10kph, if that.”

Asked if he was confident Kojonup would get its train back on track, Mr Mitchell-Collins said: “We haven’t run out of steam yet”.