Adelaide-Darwin railway reopens
Freight operations resumed on the Adelaide-Darwin rail line last Wednesday following the December derailment of a freight train on the Edith River bridge due to damage from flood waters associated with Cyclone Grant.
Operator of the line, Genesee & Wyoming Australia (GWA) – the Australian based subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc (GWI)– undertook successful testing and validation of the Edith River Bridge structure under various axle loads on Friday 24, and regular service to Darwin on the Adelaide-Darwin line resumed on Wednesday February 29.
“Over the past week, the river receded to a level that permitted three intermodal containers that remained in the river to be removed safely and without incident. The river banks were patrolled and cleaned of debris for five kilometres downstream of the bridge,” GWI said in a statement.
“GWA will continue to monitor the site and, if needed, conduct further cleanups as water levels decline over the coming months."
The bridge reopening was twice delayed by discovery during the repair process of hidden damage to the bridge structure, which required additional strengthening and restoration work.
Meanwhile, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released its preliminary report into the derailment.
The ATSB’s investigation is continuing and will include an examination of the following:
• The decisions in relation to dispatching trains 6AD1 and 7AD1 (the derailed train) over the Edith River rail bridge with weather warnings current.
• Bureau of Meteorology and/or other sources of weather/flood information available to Genesee & Wyoming Australia (GWA) preceding the derailment.
• GWA’s 'Operational Procedures' for responding to severe weather events.
• GWA driver and operational staff training, in particular related to risk mitigation strategies associated with severe weather events.
• GWA track inspection requirements with respect to detecting flood risks.
• Hydrological studies/calculations and applicable standards used in the design and construction of the Edith River rail bridge.
• Design parameters used for return precipitation events covering major under track bridges e.g. 1 in 100 year precipitation event.
• History of similar events and strategies for mitigating the risks arising from extreme weather events in relation to the safety of train operations.
• The Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts & Sport (NRETAS) is undertaking an investigation into the environmental impacts of the derailment. This aspect of the derailment will not be addressed by the ATSB in its report.
• Northern Territory WorkSafe is conducting investigations into transport arrangements in relation to the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail Act. This aspect of the derailment will not be addressed by the ATSB in its report
To download the ATSB’s Preliminary Report visit: www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2011/rair/ro-2011-019.aspx
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