An update from Queensland Rail's CEO Nick Easy:
Late Thursday afternoon (7 February), aerial inspections of flooding impacts to the Mount Isa Line by Queensland Rail identified a stowed Pacific National freight train at Nelia – approximately 300 kilometres east of Mount Isa – had been significantly impacted by flood waters.
The train consists of one locomotive and 80 wagons which were storing a mixture of products including zinc, lead and copper anode.
The train was stowed at the location from 31 January, as a precaution, due to heavy rainfall on the Mount Isa Line preventing its full journey from Mount Isa to Townsville. Nelia is a high point in the area and had previously provided safe stowing for trains in flood events.
There is no access to the site, except via aerial inspections, which have confirmed flood waters were continuing to impact the train on Friday 8 February.
It is understood that some product has spilled into flood waters. Queensland Rail is working closely with Pacific National, Glencore and the Department of Environment to more clearly understand the impacts of this incident based on the information currently available.
Further updates will be shared with the community once more information comes to hand.
Queensland Rail has confirmed all other stowed third-party freight trains are safe and accounted for.
This unprecedented flooding event has caused widespread impacts to the Queensland Rail network, particularly the Mount Isa Line which remains closed between Stuart and Cloncurry due to extensive flooding in various locations.
The North Coast Line also remains closed between Ayr and Cairns due to flooding.
Queensland Rail will not be able to begin detailed inspections to determine the full impact of the flood waters until flood waters recede and it is safe to do so. We will continue to provide updates as further information becomes available on the status of the network and timeframes for recovery work.
Spirit of Queensland and Inlander passenger services are experiencing cancellations and impacts due to this unprecedented weather event. Where possible, replacement road coaches will be arranged, however this is subject to road conditions which are also currently impacted in many locations.
Customers booked on a Queensland Rail service in the affected areas are encouraged to visit www.queenslandrailtravel.com.au or call Queensland Rail Travel on 1800 803 009.
For further details contact Queensland Rail Media:
0459 226 970 or firstname.lastname@example.org