I have been fortunate in my work that it often affords the opportunity to see and experience aspects of Tasmania well beyond what is available to the average visitor or citizen.
A recent trip to the West Coast in the company of the crew from Hype TV to produce a series of new promotional videos for the West Coast Wilderness Railway allowed us to access the West Coast Wilderness Railway line in ways that few others can.
We had a busy schedule to film in Queenstown and then at Strahan, but we also had time to go out on track with members of the Railway track crew to film never-before filmed elements of the experience.
We were taken up to Rinadeena via the staff-only access road where the crew walked back down the track to position themselves safely to the side so they could film the steam loco climbing to the top of the Rinadeena Saddle using the Abt Rack and Pinion system, something impossible to observe when onboard the train (although passengers can certainly feel and hear the pinion cog engaging and disengaging from the rack).
Hard work has its rewards, and after a long, hot and hectic day’s filming, dinner overlooking Strahan and Macquarie Harbour from the restaurant at Strahan Village was an enjoyable end to a satisfying day.
We needed images of other experiences in Strahan for the videos, including Morrison’s Sawmill, where precious Tasmanian timbers are sawn using techniques going back generations and then crafted into desirable household items for sale to visitors.
Again we travelled with the Railway track crew – the estimable Darren ‘Bogga’ Bryce and his offsider Jesse (see more of Bogga in this video produced by the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania here). This time we started at Strahan and travelled along the line up the King River to capture images of the major bridges along the line, which passengers can only glimpse from the train.
Before the railway ran all the way to Strahan, it extended to Teepookana on the King River, which around 1900 was one of the busiest ports in Tasmania. Initially used by piners to ship out Huon pine logs, it was used to ship minerals from the mines of Queenstown from the late 19th century. Little evidence remains of its existence adjacent to the Iron Bridge.
A little further along, a new bridge has been constructed from sections of the Bailey bridge which was a vital link across the River Derwent in Hobart during the years following the Tasman Bridge disaster in the mid 1970s. It replaces the original ‘Quarter Mile’ bridge, the remains of which can be seen off to one side.
Having commissioned the videos, my role was to facilitate the production, with the capable assistance of my West Coast Wilderness Railway colleagues. Beyond that, and keeping the crew and staff members safe, fed, watered and generally happy, I also took the opportunity to use the occasion to promote the Railway by posting stories on our social media channels.
As well as Instagram stories, I posted a couple of live Facebook broadcasts of trains arriving and departing, such as this one of the train departing Regatta Point Station, headed for Queenstown. Such posts seem to have strong engagement so I generally try to do them whenever I have an appropriate opportunity.
Of course, on any trip, I generally find time to take some pretty pictures too, so here’s a few from this trip.