Newcastle rail line reopens, floods keep Moree closed

Liz Wells, March 25, 2021

Floods in north-west NSW have cut the Moree-Narrabri rail line and many roads. Photo: Dibs Cush

GRAIN trains are once again delivering wheat to Newcastle’s two grain ports now that flood waters have receded and damage has been rectified on the Hunter Valley Rail Network at Sandgate.

The line closed last Thursday, and reopened to limited coal services yesterday.

Both the GrainCorp and Newcastle Agri Terminal sites at Carrington are currently loading wheat onto vessels for export, and the trains are replenishing supplies in their portside storages.

Pacific National hauls grain into Newcastle for several customers, and its agricultural manager Hugh Cox said the reopening of the line was “fantastic”.

“Slowly but surely we should be back on cycle by the weekend,” Mr Cox said.

However, the rail line north of Narrabri to Moree remains closed due to flooding in north-west New South Wales.

In a statement released yesterday, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) advised it had resumed limited rail operations on the Hunter Valley Network between Newcastle and Maitland.

“Coal services have resumed in a limited capacity following minor restoration works, which were carried out during a six-hour work window on Wednesday morning after flood waters receded at Sandgate,” an ARTC spokesperson said.

“These services will operate in a limited capacity while we continue to monitor the situation and assess conditions.

“The network between Narrabri North and Moree remains closed due to continued flooding in the north-west of the Hunter Valley Network.”

The Hunter network from Boggabri south includes coal and main lines. Grain trains are able to run on both.

On an average day, the network carries more than 250 trains, including coal, passenger, grain and intermodal services, into and out of Newcastle.

Shipping resumes

Heavy rain, fog and rough seas prevented vessels from getting on to the five coal, two grain and other multi-use berths in the Port of Newcastle from Thursday.

Starting late Monday, improved weather conditions have allowed all scheduled vessels to enter Newcastle Harbour and tie up at their allotted berths, with loading now under way.



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