Asciano suspends Tasmanian rail operations


Pacific National will close services on north-south line in Tasmania due to the poor track conditions

Pacific National will close its services on the north-south line in Tasmania for up to a month due to the poor conditions of tracks in the region.

The shutdown comes after a number of derailments on the track, the most recent happening last week.

A spokeswoman for the rail operator’s parent company Asciano says all paper and container operations will be affected during the closure but coal and cement operations will not.

"As a result of the conditions of the rail infrastructure in the Colebrook region, resulting in several derailments in the area in recent months, PNT has suspended all rail services in that region," she says.

The spokeswoman says Pacific National is currently in discussions with all stakeholders to ensure they are informed of the progress.

Paper producer Norkse Skog, which is based in Boyer, says it will begin using trucks to move its freight to Bell Bay and Burnie Ports in northern Tasmania.

"We are looking at moving 25-30 loads a day," company supply and logistics manager Arnold Willems says.

"We can fit in two loads per truck so that 12-15 trucks per day."

Greens MP Tim Morris called on Infrastructure Minister Graeme Sturges to reveal what had gone wrong on the railway line and what would be done to rectify it.

"Rail maintenance is the responsibility of the government, so this suspension of the southern line needs to be laid at the feet of Minister Sturges," Morris says.

Morris says the closure will increase truck movement throughout the region, claiming it will "inevitably lead to extra road accidents and associated injuries and deaths".

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