Train derailment

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has responded to a recent train derailment at Inverleigh, which resulted in the closure of its Adelaide-Melbourne freight line.

The Victorian State Emergency Service says no one was hurt in the recent incident that derailed a 1.7 kilometre-long freight train with 55 carriages at Inverleigh, west of Geelong.

Though it’s too soon for authorities to have determined a cause for the incident, it is suspected heavy rainfalls of up to 50mm may have been a contributing factor.

The ARTC says it has now engaged with customers for a recovery plan, and has begun on-site works to return the line to service.

“ARTC has appointed a dedicated recovery team, with the support of our contractor partners, to undertake the recovery works,” an ARTC spokesperson said.

“ARTC had already assembled a crew of around thirty workers at the incident site by this morning and expects to increase the on-site workforce significantly as works progress in the coming days.

“Working with our contractor partners, ARTC has already mobilised heavy machinery on-site to support repair work.

“Work has now begun on clearing the tracks, assessing the damage, and beginning the task of repairing the track.

“Our initial assessments indicate a kilometre of track has been damaged, repairing this will require the delivery on-site and installation of new ballast, rail and concrete sleepers.

“ARTC is working with our contractors to have the track up and running as soon as possible but at this stage it is difficult to put an exact timeline on the track reopening.”

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) said the incident exposed systemic failures in Australia’s rail safety regime.

RTBU National Secretary, Mark Diamond, said rail workers had lost confidence in the rail safety regime, and an urgent review of the Rail Safety National Law was needed.

“Miraculously, there were no injuries to traincrew.  But yesterday’s derailment could have been catastrophic if the train was carrying passengers, rather than freight,” Mr Diamond said.

“Rail workers are increasingly concerned that Australia’s rail safety regime is no longer fit for purpose, and not enough is being done to ensure that tracks are safe.

“While the cause of yesterday’s derailment will be the subject of an investigation, rail workers are already aware of the failings in the rail safety system, and they want to see action.”

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