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Train derailment closes grain line

A 40-carriage locomotive carrying 2880 tonnes of wheat has derailed comapproximately about 2km from Rennie, creating uncertainty over about grain deliveries now harvest is completed.

FIONA BLICK January 10, 2013 4:05am

One of the derailed carriages


A 40-carriage locomotive carrying 2880tonnes of wheat has derailed about 2km from Rennie, creating uncertainty about grain deliveries now harvest is completed.

The double locomotive was heading to Geelong from the Oaklands silos about 3pm last Thursday when 10 carriages came off the rails on a slight right hand bend.

The train was carrying wheat for the Australian Wheat Board for export, conservatively valued at $1million.

GrainCorp spokesman Angus Trigg said the interruption to rail services was not expected to cause any significant issues for their operation.

The company has a number of silos on the Oaklands line.

He said grain growers should keep in contact with their silo managers.

Sergeant Grant Churchin of Mulwala Police said the train was travelling within its speed restrictions.

‘‘No person was injured; there was monetary and infrastructure loss only,’’ Sgt Churchin said.

He said police inspected the site, and it appeared the soil that had been used as an embankment had come loose.

‘‘The tracks were warped, creating a large amount of debris, and railway sleepers were displaced,’’ he said.

‘‘Information was obtained that the area was under water about 12 months ago when it was flooded and water appears to have coursed through piping under the embankment which may have caused erosion.

‘‘Salvage is currently under way for the carriages and wheat, and it is expected this will continue for a number of days.’’

The railway line is owned by the Victorian Government and managed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation.

The drivers work for El Zorro Transport. Both drivers were breath tested and produced a negative result. Internal investigations are expected from all involved parties.

An Australian Rail Track Corporation spokesman declined to comment on whether flood erosion may have been a contributing factor to the derailment but said the NSW Office of Transport Safety Investigations had been notified of the incident and attended the scene last Friday morning.

He said initial estimates were that about 260m of track had been damaged and would need repair.

‘‘The line is currently closed north of the incident site,’’ the spokesman said.

‘‘There is currently no forecast for a return to services and this will be contingent on removal of the wagons from the site first.’’

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