The Mount Isa rail line between Cloncurry and Hughenden continues to be impacted by flood waters which are yet to recede, however Queensland Rail’s CEO Nick Easy said they anticipate rectification of the line ahead of the 6 – 12 months being reported.
According to Queensland Rail, certain media outlets have reported a time frame which did not come from the organisation.
Mr Easy said it’s important the advice and information they're providing is accurate and meaningful for the communities, stakeholders and freight partners.
RELATED STORY: Train derailed in floodwaters at Nelia
“We know how important the Mount Isa Line is to the local economy and for the export market," Mr Easy said.
“Unfortunately, it is too early for us to be providing more definitive advice regarding repair time frames for the Mount Isa Line, given flood waters surrounding the site, and roads connecting to the site, are yet to recede.
“Recovering the rail line is a key priority for us," he said.
The Mount Isa line is a major freight supply route that supports Queensland’s agricultural and mining industries.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said at this stage, Queensland Rail believes the line can be fixed earlier than the 6-12 months that has been suggested and reported this week.
"Repairs have started with crews clearing debris around the line and thousands of sleepers are en route for track repairs to start as soon as possible.," Mr Bailey said.
The Flinders Highway is currently closed due to flooding in several sections, this includes Nelia which was inundated with approximately 1.5 metres of flood waters.
Creeks between Hughenden and Cloncurry are receding slowly, but large sections of track between Richmond and Julia Creek remain underwater.
Repairs have started, with crews clearing debris around the line and thousands of sleepers are en route for track repairs to start as soon as possible.Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey
“Once flood waters recede, we will need to wait for ground conditions to improve in order to allow for the mobilisation of people, plant and equipment to site. However, our people are ready to commence work as soon as they safely can," Mr Easy said.
“Over the past week, we have been working closely with Pacific National on their recovery plan for their flood impacted train at Nelia.
Queensland Rail is working closely with Pacific National, Glencore, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, and independent environmental specialists to identify and manage any impact from the spill of minerals into local flood waters.
Mr Easy said as soon as they can gain physical access to the site, and determine an accurate timeframe for the recovery, information will be shared with the communities, stakeholders and freight partners immediately.
“We have already commenced removing debris off the track at Richmond, have ballast trains and crews positioned at both Cloncurry and Hughenden, and yesterday delivered 5,000 sleepers to Hughenden which will be followed by a further 5,000 sleepers arriving in Cloncurry by the end of the week in preparation for track repairs.
“I’d like to provide assurance that recovering the line between Townsville and Mount Isa is an absolute priority for our business.
“Our thoughts remain with all those who have been impacted by the floods in North Queensland," he said.
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