The Australian Rail Track Corporation and operator Pacific National have “revived” the Kempsey rail yard in northern NSW, after last week’s severe weather and flooding damaged and closed the main interstate rail line south of Dungog.
The ARTC has shut the North Coast network to at least May 17, after flooding and other extreme weather events caused significant damage to infrastructure in the region.
With trucks in high demand, Kempsey will play a key role in moving freight between Sydney and Brisbane over the next few weeks, with the interstate network out of action, the ARTC said.
Trucks will be using Kempsey Yard as a temporary stop-off point to unload containers on to a daily train heading north and then picking up extra freight to take south, ARTC’s executive general manager for interstate, Peter Winder said.
“While the use of the yard is only short-term, it is providing us with a critical freight solution while we get the track repaired and back up-and-running again just south of Dungog,” Winder said.
“We would like to thank council for helping us get this temporary solution up-and-running and really appreciate their support in this time of need for the freight industry.
“We would also like to thank the community in advance for bearing with us over the next few weeks while there are some additional truck movements in-and-out of town.”
The yard will be operational over the next three to four weeks starting today (Friday, May 1), from 6am to 6pm with corresponding truck movements around that time frame.
A train will arrive at Kempsey around 6am, and will depart around 8pm. At this stage only one train per day will be operating, the ARTC said.
Train shunting activities within the yard aren’t expected to activate the Belgrave Street level crossing, the corporation added.
Trucks will arrive/depart from Pacific Highway via Frederickton and Macleay Valley Way, First Lane and then onto Gladstone Street.
Trucks will enter the yard via Gladstone Street and exit on to Belgrave Street before turning back up to Gladstone Street to depart. Equipment in use in the yard will include heavy forklifts and it will involve movements of containers from truck to train and vice-versa, the ARTC said.
“We would like to apologise for the short notice around this activity and the inconvenience over the next few weeks. We thank the community for its patience with us, during this emergency solution,” Winder concluded.