The West Coast Wilderness Railway is slowly but surely being recognised as one of the world’s iconic train journeys.
While it may not have the romance or notoriety attached to great rail journeys like the Orient Express or the sheer coverage of distance of the Trans-Siberian or the Indian-Pacific,it is slowly but surely being recognised in global media for its engineering,its history and its reinvention as an essential experience for any visitor to Tasmania, and as a must-do reason for any train buff to make the journey to ride its rails.
Since 2015, the West Coast Wilderness Railway has been:
· Included as one of 60 Amazing Rail Journeys in a book published by Lonely Planet (2018)
· Called a unique rail journey by Australian Traveller Magazine (2018)
· Included in a list of six iconic Australian trains by India Link (2017)
· Named among train journeys worth ditching the car for by the Herald-Sun (2018)
· Listed in the top eight heritage rail experiences by Australian Geographic magazine (2018)
· Named one of five amazing railway journeys by traveller.com.au
In 2016, the West Coast Wilderness Railway was recognised with an Engineering Heritage International Marker for its global engineering significance, not just among the great railways of the world, but among the full range of engineering achievement.
This recognition is in part due to the integration of the Abt rack and pinion system which is used to traverse the steep Rinadeena Saddle and King River Gorge sections of the track. However the Marker also recognises the original Survey and Construction the Mt Lyell Abt Railway in 1896 as well as the restoration of the Railway infrastructure and the Abt locomotives and the railway operation and their restoration.
The railway in its entirety is unique as the only steam-driven Abt railway still operating in the Southern Hemisphere, and has been successfully restored and is now operating as a tourism-focused heritage railway. The section over the Rinadeena Saddle and down the King River Gorge is believed to be the steepest steam haul in the Southern Hemisphere.
Further detail on the history, heritage significance and unique railway engineering of the West Coast Wilderness Railway is available in the Nomination for the Engineering Heritage Marker.