End of the line for heritage railway

A Tasmanian heritage railway on the state's west coast is set to close.

The Federal Group has announced the West Coast Wilderness Railway will stop running at the end of April.

The company has run tours between Queenstown and Strahan for the past 10 years.

Federal Group spokesman Daniel Hanna says the business is no longer viable.

"There was a critical need to invest in infrastructure and the second, of course, has been reduced demand and a downturn in visitor numbers and passenger numbers," he said.

Five years ago the railway carried 45,000 passengers but in the past year the figure had dropped to just over 30,000.

Forty-eight workers will lose their jobs.

"We'll be endeavouring to find alternative positions for them within the company." Mr Hanna says damage from a severe thunderstorm and a landslip in the past two years had added to escalating maintenance costs.

Federal is halfway through a lease with the State Government which owns the track and locomotives.

It is unclear what will happen to the railway which was built in the 1890s to transport ore from Queenstown to Strahan.

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