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Late next Tuesday, January 5 is when Queensland Rail hopes to re-open the Mount Isa rail line between Charters Towers and Townsville, following the derailment of a freight train transporting fertiliser east of Charters Towers.
The drivers onboard were uninjured in the accident that occurred last Wednesday morning but a number of wagons were impacted and some of the soluble phosphorus-based fertiliser the train was carrying was spilt.
According to Queensland Rail acting CEO Kat Stapleton, personnel had been onsite since the accident and recovery efforts with heavy machinery were anticipated to begin on Friday, New Year's Day.
The public was assured QR had activated containment measures for the fertiliser spill.
Investigations are underway into how the train derailed but it's believed to be the result of an extreme localised weather event that impacted track infrastructure.
"Network control teams were monitoring track and weather conditions prior to the incident through visual inspections and multiple weather monitoring stations, which did not register any extreme weather activity in the area," Ms Stapleton said.
"Queensland Rail is committed to ensuring the safety of the Mount Isa line, with stringent safety protocols and maintenance programs in place along the 1032 kilometres of track."
Some of the train's soluble fertiliser cargo was spilt in the derailment but QR says containment measures have been put in place.
Ms Stapleton said further that QR had $360 million in capital upgrades and maintenance work planned over the next five years from 2020-21, in addition to more than $338 million spent in the last five years.
The line is cut to passenger as well as freight services and Inlander passenger services are temporarily being replaced by road coaches.
Impacted customers are urged to contact 1800 872 467 or visit Queensland Rail Travel for information about their booking.
This article first appeared on www.northweststar.com.au
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