Queensland Rail continues to surge full-steam ahead on the recovery of the Mount Isa line, as the first freight train movements recommence between Richmond and Townsville.
The line remains on track to reopen between late-April and mid-May 2019, with repairs continuing between Richmond and Tibarri.
Queensland Rail CEO Nick Easy said the majority of civil earthworks between Richmond and Tibarri were now complete, which was an important milestone in limiting any major impacts of wet weather on the recovery program.
"Some further formation renewal works required at Nelia will see the completion of the major civil works.
"Ballast trains and maintenance machines are progressively working from Richmond to the west and from Tibarri to the east towards Nelia.
"Following the completion of repairs between Richmond and Hughenden earlier this month, we've been working with freight operators and their customers to restore services through this section. We were pleased to facilitate the first freight train between Richmond and Townsville earlier this week and will continue to do so as required.
"With freight, ballast and maintenance train movements now occurring along the line, we ask local road users to please pay attention at level crossings in the area and obey the signs and signals at all times."
Mr Easy said work to construct the 1.2-kilometre-long deviation at the Nelia site was also progressing well, with formation construction complete and new track requiring ballast and resurfacing.
"The deviation is on track to be completed in line with the remainder of the repairs, which are due between late-April and mid-May," he said.
"This will allow trains to resume through Nelia, as remediation works continue at the site where a Pacific National train was inundated by flood waters.
"Crews of more than 300 employees and contractors are now working at any one time on the Mount Isa line recovery, to ensure we reopen this important freight connection for the local communities and industry on schedule."