Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Track Construction

Kuranda Scenic Railway services back on track

Queensland Rail is bringing back Far North Queensland’s most iconic rail service, the Kuranda Scenic Railway, following extensive damage to the railway in the wake of ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper.

As part of a staged return to full service for Kuranda Scenic Railway, Queensland Rail will operate two return services every weekend until Saturday 2 March starting the 17th of February, when the full timetable will be reinstated (two return services a day, seven days a week).
Thanks to the hard work of Queensland Rail crews and contractors in challenging conditions, more than 60 sites have been repaired in two months, to allow the Kuranda Range to safely reopen to rail traffic.
Minister for Transport and Main Roads and Minister for Digital Services Bart Mellish explained the damage to the railway after the cyclone was significant, with washouts significant landslips, uprooted trees and debris on the tracks in more than 60 sites along the railway.
“We know how important the Kuranda Range is to the community and local tourism industry, which is why Queensland Rail crews and contractors have been working as safely and quickly as possible to reinstate services for customers, local tourism partners, and the businesses of Kuranda,” he said.
“I’d like to thank our Queensland Rail staff, contractors and emergency services who have helped reinstate the line and encourage people to get back onboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway and enjoy the iconic experience.”
Further works to bolster resilience on the range will continue through to July 2024, pending weather and construction conditions.
Queensland Rail CEO Kat Stapleton said the recovery of the range was no easy feat.
“Eight track machines used and more than 50 employees and contractors engaged in the recovery effort to remove 5400 cubic meters of spoil and more than 400 fallen trees,” she said.
“We expect that our long-term works will be completed in July 2024, but we will continue to keep the community informed of any updates. Particularly, if works are further hindered due to heavy rain or other severe weather events.
“With train traffic increasing, we’re reminding everyone to keep safety front of mind and remain extra vigilant when travelling near the rail corridor.
“Whether you’re a pedestrian or driver, it’s important to only cross railway tracks at designated crossings where it’s safe to do so and pay attention to the signs and signals in place,” Stapleton said.
Prior to the weather event, Kuranda Scenic Railway patronage was reaching pre-COVID levels, with annual patronage on track to exceed 400,000 passengers for the first time in five years.
To get back onboard, tickets for this bucket list adventure are available by calling 1800 577 245.