Where can I see a train?

Updated October 2015

This is a summary of the current TasRail timetable, made up from observations of people from around Tasmania. The times included are typical of trains seen, and are a guide only, as they do vary depending on the day — if they even run! All trains that regularly operate have been included, although often only times for the daylight portion of the trip have been listed. Please note that not all trains operate every day, and when they do the times do vary.

All train movements are coordinated by a train controller in Launceston, via a State-wide VHF radio network, backed up with mobile phones as required. Frequencies can be found at the Australian Communications and Media Authority internet site. (Try “Land Mobile System” category, in the range 158 MHz to 163 MHz for repeaters, "Ambulatory System" around the same range for shunting).


Hobart area

Trains into the old Hobart yard ceased in June 2014. Trains now terminate at the Brighton Freight terminal, just north of Bridgewater.

Up to three services operate each way each day, with nothing scheduled from Saturday 8am to Sunday lunchtime excepting an early hours Sunday transfer trip to Boyer from Brighton.

The northbound paper train departs Boyer around 3.30pm Sunday to Friday, whilst the southbound service arrives Brighton about 2am (Monday to Saturday) for loco servicing before continuing to Boyer around 5.30am Sunday to Friday.

A northbound short log train (sometimes with limited intermodal loading attached) departs Brighton around 2pm (can be up to an hour early) for Western Junction Sunday to Thursday. Return working arrives into Brighton about 4.30am on Tuesdays to Saturdays.

The main intermodal service is scheduled to leave Brighton bound for Burnie around 7pm Sunday to Friday but again early running is common. Southbound intermodal service arrives around 8am Monday to Saturday.

Overall viewing of the Brighton terminal is possible from the adjacent road although parking is limited in some areas – shunting is limited and usually occurs 1 – 2 hours before train departures. The Boyer yard is within the Norske Skog paper mill, and has no public access, although some shunting of wagons toward New Norfolk is visible at a distance from Boyer Road.

Midlands

The only train during the day in the southern midlands is the northbound log train mentioned above which passes through Conara around 6.30pm. The loaded coal train on the Fingal Line is scheduled to depart Fingal around 10.30am, and run to Western Junction and then to Railton. This train usually operates four days a week Monday to Thursday.

Launceston area

Trains are scheduled to Bell Bay Monday to Saturday with combinations of bulk Bauxite, intermodal and log loading – but Bauxite running is highly variable as at October 2015 and Saturday cancellations common. Departure is around 8am with the return movement ex Bell Bay highly variable and dependant upon the loading for the day. Unloading of Bauxite occurs on the Bell Bay wharf with limited public viewing from some distance away. Logs are unloaded in the Artec plant and not viewable at all. Intermodal loading is handled in Georgetown yard and viewable from a distance at the public level crossing.

Night movements between East Tamar and Conara operate on Sunday to Friday evenings for loading of Bauxite (overnight loading) and transfer of other traffic to and from Western Junction departing East Tamar around 8pm. Access to East Tamar yard and the workshops area is restricted, although limited public viewing is available from the adjacent netball courts (off Hoblers Bridge Road), and nearby Cypress Street.

Western Junction, about 18 km south of Launceston, is the junction station on the main Hobart–Burnie line. The westbound coal train is the only train (around 1pm) to pass through between 6am and 6pm.

Devonport / Railton area

The Railton to Devonport cement train can operate almost continuously, seven days a week, depending on shipping schedules. The four times a week coal train runs as far as Railton, arriving late in the afternoon before unloading and returning east.

During daylight hours, the westbound container train from Hobart passed though Devonport around 7am to reduce loading there while the eastbound Paper Train passes around 2pm and will mostly add loading for Brighton.

The unloading of the cement train is visible from the main road in Devonport, although care must be taken of the road traffic in the area.

Burnie area

Trains arrive and depart Burnie in two directions: south to Melba and Rosebery, and east to Devonport and then to Launceston and Hobart.

Concentrate trains on the West Coast line normally operate around 6 days a week leaving around midday Mon to Friday and 7am on Sundays, returning overnight or during the afternoon on Sundays. All trains now run only to Primrose. These schedules vary depending on shipping schedules and the customers requirements. Running time is about 5 hours to Primrose with some slow running due to track conditions.

The south/east bound “Paper Train” departs around 12.30 (Sunday to Friday), with the Intermodal service for Hobart arriving around 9am

Shunting is carried out during day, and is visible from Marine Terrace, which parallels the yard for most of its length, or from other public roads/open space in this area.

A reconfiguration of this yard is due to open shortly which is expected to reduce intermodal shunting and eliminate all shipside shunting.

Compiled by Stuart Dix, Michael Dix and Phil Lange

 


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