The Emu Bay & Mount Bischoff Railway (which later became the Emu Bay Railway) contributed significantly to the economic prosperity that Burnie enjoyed between 1880 and 1910.
After rich tin deposits were discovered at Mount Bischoff on the West Coast, a railway line was constructed to transport ore from the mines. It made Burnie a deep-water port.
The very wet and cold climate of the West Coast made roads difficult to build and maintain, so without rail transport the profitable exploitation of the region’s mineral wealth would have been impossible.
Other mineral deposits on the West Coast were discovered soon after. The extension of the railway to the newly discovered silver-lead mining fields of Zeehan, Dundas, Mt Read and Rosebery in 1900 ensured Burnie’s continued prosperity from the West Coast mining industry.