Aurizon begins repairs to coal rail systems following Cyclone Debbie

Aurizon has begun assessing and repairing damage to its coal rail systems, following flooding caused by Cyclone Debbie that affected Queensland last week.

The company sent crews and resources to inspect its four coal systems – the Newlands, Goonyella, Blackwater and Moura – that form a part of the Central Queensland Coal Network.

The Blackwater system, which connects to the Port of Gladstone, closed on Wednesday, except for the North Coast Line section which remained open. Blackwater is set to reopen by the end of the week, subject to the flood levels receding.

The Newlands system, which connects to the Abbot Point coal terminal closed on Tuesday, with aerial inspections assessing any damage to the rail infrastructure. Initial reports have found a significant amount of minor damage to the site, however no major damage has been noted.

Newlands is expected to reopen within the next two to three weeks.

The Goonyella system – connecting to the Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point coal terminals – also closed on Tuesday.

Aurizon said road and rail access to the rail corridor is “severely limited” particularly around the Black Mountain area, west of Sarina, where landslips occurred. Current assessments have indicated that recovering the rail infrastructure will take around five weeks, with more geotechnical assessments to be conducted.

The company will find alternative routes for customers that have been affected.

The Moura system, which connects to the Port of Gladstone, closed on Wednesday, with aerial inspections of the corridor being conducted. Road and rail access to the rail corridor is limited with some damage found on the rail infrastructure. The system is set to reopen in two weeks.

The West Moreton coal system, owned and operated by Queensland Rail, however, has reopened, with coal and freight trains recommencing operations.

Aurizon highlighted that the temporary closures will negatively impact its 2017 financial year volumes and earnings.

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