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Parts of the Hurstbridge railway line have been badly destabilised by Christmas Day’s ferocious storms, with one train forced to turn back as the track slowly gave way.
That news came as the state-wide clean-up continued in the wake of the lashing that saw hail pound the suburbs as pelting rain delivered floodwaters that in some areas submerged cars and roads.
Leah Waymark, spokeswoman for train operator Metro, said hours of rain swept away ballast that supports the track between Hurstbridge and Macleod stations. About four kilometres of track was badly destabilised.
All train services between those two stations have been cancelled and replaced by buses that will run on the same timetable as train services.
Metro first became aware of the problem just before 8pm when one train without passengers left Hurstbridge station.
After noticing track destabilisation near Eltham station, the driver obtained special permission from the control centre to move to the other end of the train and drive it back to Hurstbridge.
Ms Waymark would not speculate on what would have happened if parts of the track had given way while it was supporting a train.
SES crews are currently on site repairing the damage, with Ms Waymark saying services are expected to return to normal by Wednesday.
Meanwhile, hundreds of emergency workers and volunteers are mopping up the mess wrought by wild weather that ripped through Melbourne.
An estimated 300 to 400 SES volunteers will be out in force for at least the next two days to clean up after yesterday's series of storms, which brought huge hailstones, torrential rain, flash flooding and even a tornado, prompting 3000 distress calls.
SES spokesman Lachlan Quick said 15 SES crews from western Victoria would be drafted in today to help with the clean-up in the north and northwest parts of the state.
"They're out getting allocated to jobs now and they'll be there at least another two days," Mr Quick said.
As of this morning an estimated 2000 requests for help remained outstanding.
The damage was caused by large hail that pelted the north-west and north-eastern suburbs. The areas of Taylors Lakes, Keilor, Eltham, Greensborough and Keilor Downs were the hardest hit.
Fifteen of the 20 emergency calls relating to flash flooding came from Eltham.
Mr Quick said the hail had punched holes in roofs, skylights and windows, leaving buildings more exposed to the ensuing round of storms.
"The next four of five thunderstorms that swept through have all hit the same areas, unfortunately, which meant there was a lot more building damage as a result of the holes already punched in those buildings," he said.
"I'd anticipate the clean-up to take at least two days, if not longer, simply because of the sheer number of jobs and type of damage."
The SES, which yesterday relied on 250-300 volunteers, also had to rescue people from 20 cars caught up in the flash-flooding of roads during the storms.
Strong winds and lightning forced the diversion of international and domestic flights at Melbourne Airport, while planes that had been due to fly out were grounded.
Early today moderate flood warnings were in place for the Merri Creek at Coburg, in Melbourne's north, and for the Watts River at Healesville.
The Bureau of Meteorology was predicting drizzle with a top of 23 for Melbourne for the start of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
The chance of thunderstorms over the eastern suburbs was forecast for early in the morning, with sunny breaks mid-afternoon.
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