Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has this afternoon announced that limited freight train movements will recommence on the west line of the dual track near Wodonga at 6am tomorrow, Monday 25th of October.
At this stage only freight traffic will be recommenced with passenger services expected to return later in the week following further repair and recovery operations.
ARTC will carefully monitor each train movement and a 10 kph speed restriction will apply. Trains traversing the site will be ‘piloted’ which involves a site worker accompanying the driver in the train cabin and guiding the locomotive through the derailment site.
Repair and recovery operations will continue throughout the week, involving repair of the line, sleepers, signalling and inspection and repair of the bridge.
ARTC is not yet able to establish a final restoration date.
At 0710 hours Saturday 24 October, Pacific National service 3PW4 derailed on the Main East line at Wodonga just before the start of the bridge north of the railway station.
15 wagons derailed and there was significant track damage.
Early indications, pending a full and detailed investigation, are that the derailment was caused by a problem with the rolling stock; it is suspected that one of the bogies on the 23rd wagon buckled, derailing the wagon and taking the other 14 wagons with it.
The West line of the by-pass was also obstructed by derailed wagons.
Two wagons have been confirmed as being off the road and bridge and down the embankment.
The Bridge is going to require assessment by a professional engineer before it is reopened.
660 metres of track has been damaged with 550 concrete sleepers requiring replacement.
The rail is extensively damaged and will require digging out of the ballast to investigate how much if any can be salvaged.