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rain services have resumed on the Mount Isa line after a major derailment which spilt thousands of litres of sulphuric acid in north-west Queensland.
Queensland Rail crews spent the past five days constructing an 800-metre temporary deviation around the 26-wagon train, about 20 kilometres east of Julie Creek.
The train was carrying 819,000 litres of sulphuric acid when it derailed on December 27.
One of the carriages ruptured, spilling up to 31,500 litres of the acid, some of which made it into the waterways.
The derailment forced Queensland Rail to suspend all services between Mount Isa to Townsville.
Queensland Rail's Rebecca Masci said the deviation was likely to be in place for a number of months.
"We're talking about 3,000 tonnes of rock or ballast on this track and a thousand sleepers, so there's a lot of grunt work that actually went into delivering this deviation quickly," she said.
"This is a really tricky site and we have to approach everything with the utmost care to make sure that as we move forward we do it as quickly as possible.
"But it needs to be done safely for the people on site as well as, most importantly, not causing any further impact to the environment."
Constructing the deviation also involved more than 2,000 tonnes of road base and 1.6 kilometres of rail line.
The first freight train travelled over the rail deviation at 6:20pm Wednesday and the first Inlander passenger service is due tonight.
Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said about 50 Queensland Rail staff worked on the temporary track.
"We know communities in the north west rely on the Mount Isa line for passenger services and to transport freight," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"Constructing this deviation and resuming trains as quickly and safely as possible has been one of our highest priorities."
Queensland Rail appointed Golder Associates last week to monitor the environment around the derailment and to ensure the deviation could be constructed safely.
Work continues to remove the derailment wreckage.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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