The West Coast Wilderness Railway (WCWR) is an intrinsic part of the west coast’s history and community. We are guardians of our local heritage, and we take pride in maintaining our community’s historic traditions and respecting and celebrating the past.
During the 1980s and 1990s, community support led to the provision of state and federal funding to restore and reopen the railway. When the railway was closed once more in 2013, the community rallied again and lobbied the government to ensure the closure was not permanent.
The Mount Lyell Picnic was first held in the early twentieth century, when Queenstown was a thriving centre of more than 5,000. This was the community’s major annual social event, and today we work with the community to maintain this tradition. The picnic was revived in 2005, and each year on Australia Day, people take the train from Queenstown to Strahan for a day of good food, entertainment, activities and fun.
The WCWR supports the community through sponsoring local events, such Queenstown’s award-winning The Unconformity arts festival. Formerly known as the Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival, The Unconformity draws large numbers of visitors to the west coast every two years.
We also support numerous local and state charities.
The railway offers important work experience opportunities to high school students from Mountain Heights School in Queenstown. Each year, around six young local people are given an opportunity to sample a career in tourism through our work experience program and placements.
We also offer special rates to students from Mountain Heights High School and Strahan Primary School to travel on the railway.
WCWR is a member of the West Coast Emergency Management Committee, and we provide assistance to the local community in emergency situations.
The rugged wilderness of Tasmania’s west coast is one of our region’s greatest assets. To contribute to the protection of our environment, WCWR operates from a philosophy of ‘nothing wasted, nothing left behind.’ We implement a range of actions to fulfil this organisational philosophy, and continually review and seek ways to further reduce our environmental footprint.
West Coast Wilderness Railway is a significant local employer and contributor to the economy of the west coast.
Most of our team are local residents, and many are third or fourth generation west coasters, whose employment with WCWR enables them and their families to continue to live on the west coast.