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Urban rail news in brief - July 2015
Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
he Australian Rail Track Corporation has denied concrete rail sleepers caused a freight train to derail on the New South Wales-Victorian border yesterday.
Fifteen wagons from a Pacific National freight service derailed on the Main East line near the Wodonga railway station just after 7:00am AEDT Saturday.
The government-owned company has been replacing wooden and steel sleepers on the rail line between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
But train drivers told the 7:30 Report last month the new sleepers have caused hundreds of mud holes to appear, making the track unstable.
Company spokesman Brad Emery says the holes are due to heavy rain and poor quality ballasts laid in the 1970s.
"This derailment occurred on or near a bridge, basically not near any of the mud holes that had appeared - most of those have now been repaired anyway," he said.
Mr Emery believes the accident was caused by a problem with one of the wagon's bogies.
"It's usually more often than not a problem with one of the wagons than it is an issue with the track," he said.
"Our crews are out there regularly monitoring the track, both the North-South line and the East-West line, making sure that there are no problems with the track, with the sleepers, with the ground and we carry on extensive maintenance operations to ensure the track is up to scratch."
The accident at Wodonga ripped up 660 metres of track and damaged over 500 concrete sleepers.
Mr Emery says one of the damaged lines could reopen within the next 24 to 48 hours, but he says it could take up to a week to fix the second line of the dual track.
Rail authorities will meet this afternoon to decide whether part of the line can reopen.
"It's quite a nasty wreck. The train itself was carrying steel so there's lots of dangerous debris around so they're trying to stabilise the site today," Mr Emery said.
"The plan is, if things go well, to potentially open one of the tracks tomorrow for through traffic for freight and potentially passenger services."
"When it does happen, there will obviously be speed restrictions and there may even be a pilot-guided section, which means that as the train comes through, one of the work crew actually gets in the train and guides the driver across the section of line.
"At this stage it's still yet to be determined whether we're going to be able to meet a schedule of tomorrow."
CountryLink says passenger services between Sydney and Melbourne are continuing despite the derailment.
A spokeswoman says passenger rail services will continue between Sydney and Albury, with buses being brought in to cover the journey between Albury and Melbourne.
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