Queensland Rail National will be shutting down its systems for the next four days.
Queensland Rail National will be shutting down its systems for the next four days.

Qld coal exports derailed

A COAL train derailment may result in up to 400,000 tonnes of lost exports out of Gladstone.

On Tuesday, 20 fully-loaded wagons on a Queensland Rail (QR) coal train derailed on the central line between Aroona and Edungalba, about 150 km west of Rockhampton.

A spokesman for QR said the track and overhead wires were damaged and both lines were blocked by the incident, stopping rail traffic between coal mines and the Port of Gladstone in the Blackwater coal rail system. 

Nobody was injured in the incident, which is being investigated.

“The central line between Rockhampton and Longreach was closed as a result of the derailment of a coal train,” the spokesman said.

“QR staff have inspected damage to the track and overhead wires and begun the recovery task, which is affected by the difficulty of accessing the site.

 “The derailment has blocked both lines and stopped rail traffic between the coal mines.”

Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) chief executive Leo Zussino said the coal train derailment west of Rockhampton could have a severe impact on its exports.

“The impact of this could be in the worst-case scenario; up to 400,000 tonne of lost exports this month,” Mr Zussino said.

“We currently have two million tonne of stock at the port and for the RG Tanner coal terminal to operate efficiently we really need three and half to four million tonnes of coal on the ground.

“We always struggle when we have low stock when matching the shipping stems.”

Mr Zussino said the ships had multiple cargoes of different coal from different mines and there was always a challenge to match the stock on the ground when there were low stocks with the shipping stem to keep loading.

“It really depends upon the recovery of the rail system,” he said.

“We are working with QR and Pacific National to work out the priority of trains we need when the track reopens to ensure we match the coal to the shipping stem and the ships we have available to load.”

The Queensland Rail spokesman said staff would assess the damage before starting repairs and the line would be reopened when repairs were completed and it was safe to do so.

“Initially diesel-hauled trains will operate between periods of network restoration and as repairs are completed, operation of trains will return to full service,” the spokesman said.

Queensland Rail expects a resumption of coal trains today on the Blackwater coal line.



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