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FREIGHT Australia is investigating the cause of a train derailment in central Victoria, in which 15 carriages left the tracks, spilling grain and causing extensive damage.
The incident happened late Thursday night at Tarnagulla and involved a freight train travelling towards the Port of Geelong.
No one was injured in what is the seventh train derailment in Victoria so far this year.
Clean-up crews spent much of yesterday clearing the site and repairing tracks, with heavy machinery called in and two Tarnagulla streets closed.
Passenger services have not been affected and the line is expected to reopen by tomorrow afternoon. Freight Australia CEO Marinus van Onselen said the company regretted any inconvenience caused.
He also said the state's rail infrastructure was badly in need of modernisation and welcomed the recent Federal Government announcement that rail networks would receive a funding boost. State Shadow Transport Minister Terry Mulder claimed the derailment highlighted a lack of commitment from the State Government to rail services.
"It doesn't surprise me that this has happened again, and unless the State Government addresses this, the problem will continue," he said.
"When the rail system is not properly maintained, it can lead to the possibility of people being seriously injured or even killed.
"Our passenger services are an absolute disgrace in terms of reliability and timetables." A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Peter Batchelor said the large number of derailments prompted the government to appoint an independent rail safety regulator to investigate the incidents. "This is a concern to us and safety is paramount - if the high number of derailments is a systemic problem, it needs to be addressed." But the spokeswoman said while the Tarnagulla incident would be included in investigations, it was not a State Government responsibility.
"Under privatisation, Freight Australia is fully responsible for this track - this line is used exclusively for freight."
Rural Press Ltd
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