The Mt Isa railway will reopen to freight on April 29, three months after it was badly damaged by flooding.
Queensland transport and main roads minister Mark Bailey on Wednesday praised the work of more than 400 Queensland Rail staff and contractors, who collectively have worked 160,000 hours over the past 10 weeks to repair infrastructure between Oorindi and Hughenden.
More than 200 sites across 300 kilometres of the rail line required repairs, including from Hughenden to Richmond, Maxwellton to Nonda, and Tibarri to Oorindi, where the network suffered significant flooding, washouts and erosion.
Over 47 kilometres of track and 38 bridge abutments were damaged, requiring more than 120,000 tonnes of ballast to repair.
Bailey said the Mt Isa line was one of the state’s most important freight routes, playing a critical role connecting the region’s industries and communities.
“When the line experienced this catastrophic event, the Palaszczuk Government made its repair a top priority,” the minister said.
“Every resource has been made available to accelerate recovery works, and I’m pleased to announce Queensland Rail expects to reopen the full length of the 1000km Mount Isa line from Monday April 29. I’d like to extend my sincerest thanks to all involved in making sure the Mount Isa line could be repaired as quickly as possible.”
Queensland Rail boss Nick Easy said final repair works are underway between Nonda and Quarrels.
“Final works to be completed over the next week include ballast train drops and resurfacing, while final inspections and test trains have run the line, prior to the track reopening,” Easy said.
The rail line has been deviated at Nelia, while remediation works continue at the location where a minerals train was swamped by the floodwaters during the major weather event which shut the line.
“Staff and contractors have gone above and beyond for what was a momentous challenge to get freight moving again in the state’s north west,” Easy said. “There were many local contractors who travelled to site from Townsville, Ingham, Rockhampton, Cloncurry, Richmond, and Mount Isa to assist our crews with a range of works including earthworks, traffic control and crane hire.
“I thank and congratulate everyone involved for getting the job done on time and to a high standard.”