ARTC engineers have now completed detailed inspections of the Boggabri derailment site and indicate it is going to be some weeks before the track and the bridge can return to service, an ARTC spokesperson said today.
“While the incident occurred last Wednesday, the site had to be quarantined immediately until rail investigators had the opportunity to carry out their investigations, then it took a number of days for the damaged wagons to be removed.
“With the wagons removed, ARTC engineers have had the opportunity to safely undertake assessments of the damage to the bridge and track as well as the scale of the repairs required,” the spokesperson said.
“Based on these initial assessments we estimate around three weeks will be required to undertake the program of work needed to return the bridge to operational service.
“As a result, we are currently forecasting a return to rail services by Christmas,” the spokesperson said.
“The damage is quite extensive, including to the structure of the bridge itself as well as the track, and there lies a large repair and construction job ahead.
“Initial works require repairs to the piers that support the bridge structure, and will include some significant concrete works focused on securing the structural integrity of the bridge.
“We appreciate our customers and the local community are relying on us to return the rail line to operation as quickly as possible, and that they need certainty around timeframes,” the spokesperson said.
“We would like to thank them for their patience while we’ve had our engineers assess and establish the program required to get this bridge – and the rail line – back into service.”