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Ch. Tanunda owner loses railway line battle

The owner of Château Tanunda, John Geber, has lost a court battle to try and maintain a small railway line in Australia’s Barossa Valley on which he hoped to run a tourist train.

Geber and local MP and former Transport Minister Stephan Knoll had been at odds over a section of track, about 120 metres long, over which Knoll wished to build a new roundabout but which Geber claimed Knoll had no consent for.

In the end the courts found in favour of Knoll earlier this year.

Geber had been hoping to run a not-for-profit wine train for tourists on the old track to take them up and down the famous wine region but Knoll’s proposed roundabout effectively cut the line in two.

Geber owns the three carriage Barossa Wine Train that used to ply the tracks as well as the old station at Château Tanunda that used to be a stop on the former Adelaide to Truro line up the valley.

The railway line now passes by a great many vineyards as well as through towns such as Tanunda and Nuriootpa where a great many of the region’s famous names are based; including Penfolds and Jacobs Creek.

The train will still be based at Tanunda and it seems there are plans to run it on what portion of the track remains, stopping short of Nuriootpa.

Geber said: “I’m hopeful now of a shorter scenic rail experience. A heritage non-for-profit train will benefit the 87+ wineries in the Barossa and give a significant boost to tourism in a similar vein to ‘The Napa Wine Train’.

“My message to the rest of the wine world is: Don’t let transport ideas, to the exclusion of rail, sabotage your unique tourism opportunities.”

Knoll meanwhile has since been implicated in a scandal involving travel expenses alongside Agricultural Minister Tim Whetstone.

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