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Pacific National locomotives NR48 and NR47 arrived in Grafton hauling an ARTC ballast train last week as restoration work to reopen the North Coast rail line continued. Image: Emma Pritchard.

Back on track after flood stops trains

Emma Pritchard

Freight and passenger services on the North Coast rail line are expected to resume operations between Brisbane and Sydney within the next week.

Recent major flooding in the Manning and Macleay Valleys caused severe damage to the track at several locations. In an online statement, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) revealed the Interstate Network between Telarah and Grafton remained closed as of March 29, following inclement weather conditions, with high rainfall, strong winds, fallen trees, debris, power outages and fallen power lines leading to operations being halted.

ARTC is currently undertaking a full assessment of rail operations where it is safe to do so and initial observations showed significant restoration work will be required at various points along the network, impacted by localised flooding. An ARTC ballast train was stationed in Grafton yard on March 29.

ARTC also announced in their statement that the consistent supply of materials and favourable weather conditions are allowing restoration progress to continue with an initial target to reopen the main line to freight and passenger services within the next week remaining on track.