While the Australian Rail Track Corporation is yet to give a formal forecast for the re-opening of the North Coast interstate network, one of the line’s operators has sent employees home until at least May 18.
Aurizon has stood down employees on its intermodal services between Brisbane and Sydney, as a result of the damage endured by the line during last week’s flooding.
“The recent severe weather in NSW has caused damage to track infrastructure north of Newcastle resulting in network owner ARTC closing certain north-south rail lines in various locations,” Aurizon said on Wednesday.
“Accordingly, Aurizon has stood down employees from 26th April until 18th May at the earliest.”
The operator warned the severe weather could have a significant impact on its FY2015 freight volumes.
The ARTC was forced to close sections of its North Coast network due to flooding and other severe weather activity last week.
The ARTC also closed the Hunter network between Maitland and the Port of Newcastle, but tentatively re-opened the network following extensive repair work on Wednesday, April 29, with the return of normal passenger, coal and freight operations expected in due course.
The North Coast network was more heavily impacted by the bad conditions, however.
“The mid North Coast track between Telarah and Dungog remains closed, however works have been progressing well,” the ARTC said on Wednesday.
“We thank the community for their patience and understanding while works and associated truck movements are underway.”
Again, the ARTC is yet to give a formal forecast for a return on the North Coast network. But if Aurizon’s-own ‘forecast’ of a closure through to at least May 18 is any indication, that would equate to a total closure of at least four weeks for the interstate line.