A temporary intermodal facility is on track to open at Hughenden early next week while rail repairs continue west of Richmond on the flood-damaged Mount Isa line.
The facility will allow freight operators to transfer containerised freight from truck to train at that point for rail transport into Townsville.
Chief executive officer Nick Easy said Queensland Rail had been working with freight operators and their end customers on opportunities to utilise the reopened section of track while repairs continued west of Richmond until late-April to mid-May 2019.
Queensland Rail is now focused on a remaining 55km section of outstanding repair works, between Nonda and Quarrells.
“The Mount Isa rail line is a vital freight corridor that transports more than 84,000 tonnes of various freight commodities to Queensland businesses and manufacturers each week,” Mr Easy said.
“On 23 March 2019, a temporary bulk fertiliser facility commenced operating, enabling the first freight train movements to recommence between Richmond and Townsville.
“Adding to this, an intermodal facility is in construction at Hughenden, which will provide the necessary interim supply chain capacity for the North West Minerals Province once the facility opens early next week.
“These contingency measures will provide support to local industries and reduce the volume of trucks on the Finder’s Highway, while major repair works to reopen the line between Richmond and Mount Isa continue.
“The Hughenden transfer terminal was jointly funded by Queensland Rail and the Department of Transport and Main Roads and will operate in collaboration with Toll, which will mobilise equipment and personnel to site later this week and facilitate the site’s operations and logistics.
“A local Hughenden-based contractor, SJ and SC Reddie, was engaged by Queensland Rail to construct a hardstand to support the operations, which has involved preparing the site and importing approximately 2,200 cubic metres of fill material to enable large forklifts to transport mineral products in containers weighing up to 25 tonnes from trucks to trains at the terminal.
“At this stage, we anticipate the first freight service will depart Hughenden for Townsville early next week.”