TasRail is planning improvements on its West Coast line, but Mayor Phil Vickers is not holding his breath for a new railway boom. "All the potential miners have looked at the concept of rail," Cr Vickers said on Wednesday. "I've been told when they look at the nuts and bolts, they've still got to load onto a truck to get it to Melba Flats. "Logistically, depending on the number of truck movements, if there's not that many they might as well go all the way to Burnie (by road)." The line used to operate from Burnie to Melba Flats, east of Zeehan - with trains loaded there with copper ore from the Mount Lyell Mine at Queenstown - but now only operates from Burnie to Rosebery. The mine has been on care and maintenance for some years, but there are hopes a planned sale by owner Vedanta will lead to a resumption of mining, which would likely support the case for trains to return to Melba Flats. "The loading facilities at Melba Flats are pretty basic, and only built for Mount Lyell anyway," Cr Vickers said. He expected new mines would have to build their own infrastructure at Melba Flats if they wanted to use the rail line from there to Burnie. TasRail refers to the 130 kilometre stretch from the Burnie Port to Melba Flats as the Melba Line. It recently advertised for tenders from potential contractors for a "package of defect remediation track works throughout the Melba Line". The project would be part of the four-year, $119.6 million federal and state-funded second tranche of the Tasmanian Freight Rail Revitalisation Program. TasRail's advertisement said the West Coast works would involve "multiple work sites throughout the Melba Line". It would include "correction of single points of failure", replacing rail and sleepers at some level crossings and traffic management as needed. Cr Vickers said he expected the Rosebery to Melba Flats section would "just need a tidy up". "It's not used, but they obviously patrol it regularly," he said. Cr Vickers said he understood it would take about 18 months after any Mount Lyell restart for concentrate production. Why not pick up a subscription to The Advocate? Sign up here.