Derailments close Australian rail routes

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Two train derailments in two days have closed railway lines in Australia.

A Rio Tinto iron ore train derailled at Pilbara, on a spur of the Tom Price to Dampier line on Thursday 29. The following day, a freight train with 40 wagons derailed east of Kalgoorlie, injuring three people.

The second derailment has closed the line used by the long distance Sydney to Perth Indian Pacific passenger train. Operators Great Southern Railway expect to lose A$500,000 revenues as the line remains closed until at least Thursday. Police say heavy rain has affected the area, and the federal Australian Rail Track Corporation say that a new access road needs to be built in order to clear the wreckage and repair the track.

Rio Tinto have sufficient stocks of iron ore already in place to keep working. However, the freight train was carrying consumer products, which may run short in the south of Western Australia in the next few days. The Kalgoorie crash is to be investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, while maintenance company Transfield Services will also be examining the incident.