Northeast Railway Closed Indefinitely After Harvest Train Derailed to Melbourne from Riverina | Border mail

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UNCERTAINTY surrounds the reopening of the Benalla-Oaklands railway line after a fully loaded grain train derailed on the route. Ten of about 50 cars broke off the track as the train crossed the Beggs Road level crossing north of St James at around 4:20 p.m. Monday. The cars remained standing, but their bogies sank into the ballast and the wheels cut through the sleepers. The Australian Transport Safety Board is collecting information on the circumstances of the incident. “Any transportation safety investigation into the derailment would be conducted by Victoria’s chief investigator, Transportation Safety,” a spokesperson for the board said. “The Chief Investigator is investigating train incidents in Victoria on behalf of the ATSB.” The Australian Rail Track Corporation, which operates the line, said wagon removal and track assessment began on Tuesday. However, a spokesperson could not say when the line will reopen, with another source telling The Border Mail it will be at least a week. Fortunately, it takes some time before the next harvest train leaves the Oaklands elevators for the Port of Melbourne. “Our next train was booked for two weeks, so we have a bit of a gap so it’s probably not going to bog us down too much,” said Michael Ciccia, Oaklands Terminal Manager for GrainFlow. IN OTHER NEWS: GrainFlow had hired Pacific National rolling stock for the journey to Melbourne which started on Monday afternoon. Mr Ciccia said train runs became more frequent in January as the harvest was fully completed. Eldorado rail enthusiast Kobey Diamond saw the aftermath of the derailment on Monday after photographing the train earlier. He noticed that the locomotive was stationary and that its doors were open before continuing to find its rear stuck. “He was buried right down to the couplers,” Mr. Diamond said. “The track was closed under the rear half of the train.” The derailment came hours before a similar but worse incident in New South Wales early Tuesday, with the grain spilling from 39 overturned cars, closing the line between Moss Vale and Unanderra. The crop was transported from Cootmundra to the Port Kembla export terminal. No one was injured in the two derailments.

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