My dad reckoned this was one of the best experiences he's had in Tasmania, and other people we know had similarly high praise. And last week when we finally took a trip on the West Coast Wilderness Railway, it didn't disappoint. Steam locomotive number 1, which pulled us up the mountain, is 118 years old. The railway was originally built and used for transporting copper from the mines at Queenstown and uses a rack and pinion system on the steep sections. The wet winter weather provided an authentic west coast Tasmanian experience for our trip. As the rain dripped off the trees, it wasn't hard to imagine how tough life must have been for the men building and working on this railway more than 100 years ago as well as for their families living up there. However, we did the trip in style, staying warm, well-fed and comfortable in the beautifully restored carriage. At present, the journey runs return from Queenstown, but later this year there are plans to re-open the full length of the railway to Strahan. We'll have to go back and do it again sometime after that.
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