About Us

 

Who we are

Railways were once a dominant political and economic force in developing Australia, enabling the agricultural and industrial development of the country, the growth of our major cities and providing the birthplace of many country communities by their strategic placement and the need for services. The evolution of Australian transport has seen the importance of rail shift from being the primary mode of transport to one of many well-developed transport modes.

Heritage railways provide a means of preserving, educating and demonstrating rail’s cultural and historic significance to today’s society. They account for over a third of accredited railway organisations. The heritage rail sector also provides significant economic benefits to Australia through employment, tourism and expenditure and the intangible benefits of volunteering.

For many people these organisations are now the public face of our national rail industry.

ATHRA Board Group Photo – Melbourne (Vic.) 2019 © Corbin Pratt

Our Mission

Australia’s tourist and heritage railways have since their inception suffered from a parochialism that has seen a multitude of gauges, standards, policies and procedures.

The Association of Tourist and Heritage Rail Australia was incorporated in June 2004 as a National body that would represent the interests and needs of all Australian tourist and heritage rail organisations. Since that time, ATHRA has served the industry by providing a united front for the sector by representation on behalf of its members to Government statutory bodies as well as contributing to Government regulatory reviews and legislation concerning rail and tram operations and safety, from the wealth of knowledge and experience of its members.

Our Vision

In 2017, ATHRA was restructured with a new purpose to truly represent and deliver real benefits to our members – the grass roots individual Tourist and Heritage rail operators. Critical issues being addressed include establishing affordable industry based training and assessment regimen for the multitude of skills needed to safely operate railways, affordable public liability insurance, accreditation support and representation of the tourist and heritage rail sectors to the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) and the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB). The ATHRA management board draws on a representative from each of the states and seconded specialist members to bring together considerable skills and experience for the benefit of the sector.

Our Values

The heritage of railways connects people to the days of strong communities and the importance of rail heritage has been recognised by the Tourist and Heritage Rail Sector being the largest volunteer sector looking after technically complicated equipment and infrastructure.

A primary ethos of the sector is to keep our heritage alive by the operation of heritage trains – no mean feat in today’s regulatory world. Across Australia the economic impact of the tourist and heritage rail sector was estimated a number of years ago to be in excess of $370 million.

ATHRA is a member of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) which represents the whole rail sector.

Governance

Rules of the Association

ATHRA Constitution May 2017 [PDF]

Board Members

Office Bearers

Steve Strangward
Steve Strangward (Vic)
Chair
Victorian state representative
Paul Rollason
Paul Rollason (Qld)
Vice Chair  
Insurance working group chair
Spacer
Wendy Driver OAM (Qld)
Secretary
Qld state representative  
Spacer
Peter Silva (Vic)
Treasurer 
Membership officer   

Other Board Members

Spacer
Peter Anderson (NSW)
Accreditation working group
Spacer
Anthony Coen (Tas)
Tasmania state representative
Graeme Hind
Graeme Hind (NSW)
Training working group chair 
Spacer
Alex Kruger (WA)
WA state representative
Spacer
Chris LeMarshall (Qld)
Marketing working group
Spacer
Daniel Page (NSW)
NSW state representative
HOPS working group chair
Spacer
Barry Walding (SA)
SA state representative
Training working group
Spacer

Contact ATHRA