After a two-week flood recovery effort, the North Coast line has re-opened, reconnecting the vital rail link north of Brisbane.
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, said the line had first re-opened to long-distance travel and freight services.
“The severe wet weather system across the South Eastern corner has impacted upon our road and rail supply chains and it’s so important to get freight moving again,” Mr Bailey said.
“That’s why we are prioritising freight and services today, with long-distance passenger services also travelling from Roma Street through to Cairns.”
Mr Bailey said commuter trains between Gympie North and Nambour recommenced on Friday 11 March.
“Queensland Rail is grateful to rail customers, including Aurizon and freight partners, for their patience while work was underway to restore this part of the North Coast line, the spine of the state’s rail system.”
Mr Bailey praised the efforts of crews both on the ground, and behind the scenes, who battled wild weather to complete the recovery and repair operations.
“I’d also like to thank the dedicated rail crews who worked day and night over the past two weeks through difficult conditions to repair substantial damage to the tracks after the flooding, and clear the derailed locomotive and wagons near Traveston,” Mr Bailey said.
“It was also a collaboration between Queensland Rail and Aurizon crews to get the job done quickly and safely.
“The floods hit this region particularly hard, and the recovery effort involved a vast array of track and civil works to get this line open, including repairs to embankments and washouts, restoring overhead line equipment and laying new ballast and track.
“Recovery of the derailment site was also an enormous task to complete with teams up against extreme weather, flooding and challenging ground conditions, which made this job even more difficult.
“The scope and logistics of this task were colossal. A large crane pad had to be constructed to allow safe access for heavy equipment, which then enabled the derailed locomotives and wagons to be safely lifted and removed.
“We want to acknowledge the support provided by the crews of this third-party freight operator, whose efforts and cooperation contributed to the restoration of rail services as soon as possible.”
Mr Bailey said the reopening of the North Coast line meant the full South East Queensland rail network had been restored, with the exception of services west of Ipswich, where repairs were still underway.
“Teams are working hard to return services to the Rosewood line as soon as it is safe to do so,” Mr Bailey said.
“Efforts are focussed on a severe landslip west of Ipswich, amid other washouts and track repairs.”
Mr Bailey said that buses will replace trains between Rosewood and Ipswich while repairs are being made.
Repairs on the landslip and along the Toowoomba Range need to be completed before freight services can commence in Toowoomba and further west.
“All other South East Queensland rail services will continue to run to a Saturday timetable (with 15 minute peak services) until next week,” Mr Bailey said.
“I will continue to update customers on changes to the timetable, as information is available.
“We thank customers for their patience while the network recovers from the impacts of this severe weather.”