Transport Minister Scott Emerson said he believed most people would be shocked to learn the routes were subsidised more than $2000 per journey and was increasing each year.
Transport Minister Scott Emerson said he believed most people would be shocked to learn the routes were subsidised more than $2000 per journey and was increasing each year. Tom Huntley

Govt considers axing subsidised rail routes: Emerson

BOUTIQUE tourist services could replace rural rail journeys in Queensland's west and north as the State Government considers axing heavily subsidised routes.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson said there was an average of just 30 passengers on the Westlander rail route between Brisbane and Charleville and the Inlander route between Townsville and Mt Isa.

He said he believed most people would be shocked to learn the routes were subsidised more than $2000 per journey and was increasing each year.

"I'm very keen to have a conversation with local mayors, local communities and local MPs to discuss if that's the best use of tax payer dollars," he said.

"At the moment we have subsidies for coach and some subsidies on air as well as regulated air services.

"Obviously the coach air and rail are doing the same journeys to the same destinations.

"But the coaches are far less subsidies and in some cases the air isn't subsidised at all."

Mr Emerson said passengers were inclined to use these alternative means to get to their destination.

He said no decisions had been made but discussions would begin soon.

"People are choosing not to go by rail, people are choosing to go by air," he said.

"That's understandable where a journey may take 20 hours by rail by just over two hours by air."

Mr Emerson said he had heard the Richmond mayor speaking on radio about a possible boutique tourist service which was another option for the routes.

He said the route that roughly followed the Queensland coastline was not under review.



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