49 sites on the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s North Coast interstate network in NSW require repair work of some kind following last week’s flooding and storm damage.
A report from rail operator Aurizon on Wednesday suggested the interstate network between Brisbane and Sydney would be out of action until at least May 18. The ARTC on Thursday confirmed a preliminary forecast for reopening of the line of May 17.
“With a consistent supply of materials continuing, weather remaining cooperative and continued positive progress of existing works, ARTC’s initial target is to reopen the track for operations on 17 May 2015,” the ARTC said on Thursday evening.
“We will constantly review this date based on site conditions and progress and will take every opportunity to bring this forecast forward if we can.”
Since last week’s extreme weather, the ARTC has identified 49 sites on the North Coast network that require repair work of some kind.
The work ranges from minor track repairs to large washaways.
As of Thursday, April 30, ARTC engineers and track engineers had completely scoped 47 of the 49 sites, while 41 sites have had works commence, with some already completed.
“Three major sites at Tocal are a key focus for the team,” the ARTC outlined.
“These sites include completely establishing new rail track from the ground up and filling in sizeable track washaways, some greater than 10m deep and 70m wide.”
The ARTC did not identify this incident specifically, but it’s likely that the Tocal sites referenced on Thursday include the one which let to the spectacular destruction of an impromptu suspension bridge, captured on film by the local Tocal College.
“Geotechnical assessments have been completed at these locations and the engineering task to recover the track around Tocal is underway,” the ATSB said.
“ARTC will continue to provide progress reports over the coming weeks.
“We thank the community and our customers for their continued patience with us as we work to recover operations as quickly and safely as possible.”