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PN board delays discussions on Tasmania rescue plan

<p>Pacific National is unlikely to consider a $118m Federal and State government rescue package for Tasmanian rail services until early next year, probably February.</p> <p>The package &#8211 outlined in the <em>Lloyd’s List DCN News Wire</em> yestrday (Monday, December 19) &#8211 is designed to keep freight trains running on the Hobart-Launceston-Burnie line for at least the next 10 years.</p> <p>Under the rescue plan, Pacific National, which owns the Tasmanian track, passes ownership to the Tasmanian Government at no cost to the State Government. </p> <p>The Tasmanian Government may, in turn, invite the Australian Rail Track Corporation to assist in the management of the rail line on a fee-for-service basis.</p> <p>The Tasmanian Government, as track owner, establishes an access regime open to any company or group wanting to run trains in Tasmania, not just Pacific National, and puts this arrangement in place no later than June 30.</p> <p>Pacific National commits to providing a non-bulk rail freight service for 10 years, and upgrades its locomotives and rolling stock within three years.</p> <p>The Federal Government will provide capital funding for upgrading the railway line at a cost of $78m over 10 years.</p> <p>The Pacific National board met for five minutes in Sydney yesterday to consider a Patrick Corporation resolution that Pacific National begin a $500m claim against Toll Holdings over Queensland rail operations. </p> <p>The <em>Hobart Mercury</em> reports that the resolution was voted down and Tasmanian rail services were not considered. </p> <p>Pacific National decided early this year to shut down operations between Hobart and Burnie and Bell Bay, and needs a board meeting to reverse the decision. </p> <br />