Scenic World has committed to the largest tourist attraction investment in the history of the Blue Mountains with a $30 million redevelopment of the world’s steepest incline railway.
Managing directors of Australia’s most visited privately-owned tourist attraction, siblings Anthea and David Hammon, said the unprecedented upgrade of The Scenic Railway will see the Mountain Devil train evolve into a state-of-the-art Swiss built model. Under the upgrade the train tracks will be replaced, new double-sided platforms will be installed at the top and bottom stations and an international food court operated in-house rather than by franchises will be added.
Scheduled to open this December, the new railway experience will retain the 52 degree incline and feature additional displays of historical information and images in and around the platforms and rainforest floor boardwalk.
A new system of all day, season and local resident Scenic World passes will be introduced when the new Scenic Railway is up and running.
Work on the massive upgrade project began late last month and is planned to ensure Scenic World remains open every day throughout, with the Scenic Railway only scheduled to be out of service for the final six weeks.
Miss Hammon, also Scenic World’s chief engineer, said the character and history of the Scenic Railway will be retained while the major investment will ensure millions more visitors will enjoy the tourist attraction in the long term.
“The sensitive redevelopment demonstrates the same depth of historical, cultural and environmental respect that our family has provided for three generations, but will now offer the visitor a fresh perspective with some new surprises that people will want to explore again and again,” she said.
The team delivering the project includes Swiss specialist railway designers, Garaventa, and Australian architects, project managers and builders.
“Whenever I tell people about my grandfather [Harry] and the layers of history here, they are amazed,” said Miss Hammon.
“We want to make sure our visitors can engage with that story before experiencing the fun of riding the train.
“And dad [Phil, who retired as managing director in 2010] is very excited about this project and still likes to come in for weekly meetings to keep up to date with the look and feel of it.
“This significant investment will make the Scenic Railway last for the next 30 years and go beyond visitors’ expectations — and that’s what’s important to us.”
David Hammon said the upgrade of the Scenic Railway comes at an exciting time for tourism in the Blue Mountains and is anticipated to increase visitor numbers.
“There was a 30 per cent increase in visitors to Scenic World following the opening of the Scenic Cableway in 2000 and again when the Scenic Skyway was upgraded in 2004 so we think this project will really do a lot for the local tourism industry,” he said.