Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson
Some Central West Train Line To Reopen
Victor P Taffa
The Queensland Government’s Rail Safety Regulator has lifted the prohibition for trains to operate on two of the four lines in Central Western Queensland.
Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson said the lines between Emerald and Longreach, and Longreach and Winton would be opened with a number of restrictions in place.
“This will come as some relief to graziers and tourism operators in the region who rely on these lines for their business.” Mr. Emerson said.
“Queensland Rail will complete underground and underwater inspections on 13 remaining rail bridges over the coming days.”
“Restrictions include a 15 km/hr speed limit on all bridges yet to be inspected and track inspections prior to every train movement.”
“The line between Clermont and Emerald will remain closed due to the condition of two rail bridges at Capella Creek, however special permits will be provided to allow larger trucks to operate along the route.” Mr. Emerson said.
“In addition, the line between Emerald and Springsure will also remain closed pending Queensland Rail’s inspections of bridge infrastructure.”
“The line between Winton and Longreach is being repaired after the collapse of a number of timber piers on the Darr River rail bridge under the weight of a ballast train on February 22.”
“The prohibition on this line has also been lifted after Queensland Rail provided the necessary safety assurances to the Rail Safety Regulator.” Mr. Emerson said.
All four lines were closed yesterday due to concerns that inspection records dating back to November 2010 were falsified.
The CMC will oversee an investigation into the actions of two Queensland Rail bridge maintenance staff.
“The Rail Safety Regulator has also commenced a formal investigation into the conduct of Queensland Rail at both an individual and organisational level to determine whether they have complied with their rail safety duties.” Mr. Emerson said.
“The Newman Government is committed to improving the State’s transport network, but not at the expense of safety.”
“I’ve also demanded answers from Queensland Rail as to why it failed to meet its legal requirement to inform the rail safety regulator, as well as its failure to inform the Office of Government Owned Corporations and my office until more than five weeks after this matter was referred to the CMC.” Mr. Emerson said.