The West Coast Wilderness Railway, Queenstown


The Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company began life in 1892, with the Swiss-designed ‘Abt’ rack and pinion railway being the sole way to transport copper and other minerals from the remote west coast mining township of Queenstown through the dense rainforest to the foreshores of the port of Strahan. It closed in 1963, with the tracks and bridges remaining intact but falling into disrepair and lying derelict for some forty years. In 2002, thanks to the dedication of a small group of west coast locals who campaigned for its restoration, it was reopened as a tourist attraction.

Today, it is one of the undisputed success stories of Tasmania’s World Heritage Western Wilderness Area. The reconstructed railway carriages and three of the five original locomotives carry passengers under steam through some of the steepest gradients of any railway in the world, with half-day and full-day trips telling the stories of mining and hardship that have shaped the region of Tasmania widely regarded as ‘The Edge of The World’.