Services resumed on the Mount Isa rail line at 3.15pm today following the weekend derailment of an Aurizon freight train carrying sulphuric acid.
Queensland Rail regional manager North Queensland Michael Mitchell said crews had been on site all week working to re-rail the train and recover the line, which included repairs to nearly 20km of track as well as re-laying hundreds of sleepers and 400 tonnes of ballast.
“We know communities in the North West rely on the line for passenger services and to transport freight, so completing these repairs quickly and safely has been our absolute priority,” he said.
“With the line now open, we will continue to work closely with freight companies and we have the capacity to accommodate additional freight movements if they wish to reschedule services affected by the line closure.”
The incident happened about 15 km east of Julia Creek around 4am Saturday, when four wagons from the train derailed. However Queensland Rail said all 39 wagons remained upright and no spillage had been detected.
Mr Mitchell said the first train travelled over the re-opened track about 4.10pm today and the first Inlander passenger service from Townsville to Mount Isa was expected to depart as scheduled on Saturday.
“Safety is our No.1 priority and we are working closely with the relevant authorities to investigate the cause of the incident,” Mr Mitchell said.
He said Queensland Rail would continue to invest heavily to maintain the line to ensure it was safe and reliable, with investments of $43 million in maintenance and a further $15 million in direct capital scheduled for this financial year.
“In March this year, the Government also announced $25 million to replace 41km of steel sleepers with concrete sleepers and improve the track’s reliability,” he said.
“About $7 million has been completed, with a further $10 million planned to be completed this financial year.”