Trains have resumed service on the flood-damaged railway line, reopening important freight ties between the east and west coastlines. Today, nine freight trains are planned to use the rebuilt Trans-Australia network, bringing relief to Perth and the northern link to Darwin. After historic flash floods in the Tarcoola district of outback South Australia late last month, the railway route was stopped for 24 days. Supplies such as fresh food, beverages, and retail products, which are in high demand, might resume movement.
After the flooding effectively split the country in half, more than 100 Australian Rail Track Corporation employees worked around the clock to restore service. After the flash floods highlighted the road network’s fragility, freight is flowing along the Stuart Highway between Adelaide and Darwin. The repairs required more than 50,000 tonnes of ballast and rock. The storm was regarded by weather experts as a once-in-a-200-300-year event, with more than 200mm of rain falling in less than 24 hours, prompting ARTC to shut down the inter-state network between Port Augusta and Tarcoola.
Simon Ormsby, ARTC group executive (interstate network), said the crews and contractors that worked tirelessly to bring the interstate network back up owed Australia a debt of gratitude. “Port Augusta ARTC personnel led the effort, with teams from Kalgoorlie, Adelaide, and Port Augusta assisting,” he said. “Due to the overall magnitude of the operation, contractors and workers from other regions were also brought in to assist,” Mr Ormsby said. He also thanked the companies that rallied to pitch in such as McMahons, Exact Mining and Bardavcol which reallocated resources from their mining and road projects in the region to support the rail recovery efforts.
Over 25 units of heavy machinery were utilised on the job sites, and ARTC was compelled to re-build access roads from the highway to the rail network in a number of regions to allow heavy gear to get to the job site, necessitating large coordination of civil works. “I’d also like to thank all of our customers for their patience during this time while they worked with us to get services back up and running today,” Mr Ormsby said. They hope to resume their services as quickly as possible.
Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)