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QR looks to road option for freight

Track may remain cut for two weeks due to cyclone damage

By Rob McKay | February 10, 2011

Rail track damage south of Cairns is such that QR National Freight does not envisage trains operating to the city
before at least another 11 days.

The company wants to move 600 tonnes of freight to Cairns by road from Townsville.

It will apply a 48 percent surcharge to all consignments dated from February 1 bound for towns including places that bore the brunt of Cyclone Yasi.

These include Tully, Innisfail, Cairns, Atherton and Mareeba and surrounding areas, QR National Intermodal Sales Manager Stuart Dachs told customers yesterday.

“This surcharge will continue until rail services resume,” he says.

QR’s network access division had yet to inspect some areas that were difficult to approach and
where damage was described as “extensive”.

Helicopters were being used to get to them and signalling and road crossing lights were out as power was yet to be restored.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Rachel Nolan says Queensland Rail has established a regional recovery taskforce to oversee and coordinate the repair effort.

“This taskforce includes representatives with a range of knowledge and skills, including expertise in human resource management, communications, workplace health and safety, customer relations and law,” Nolan, who was in Tully yesterday inspecting the the line and speaking to Queensland Rail gangs, says.

“It is the single point of contact co-ordinating with contractors, suppliers, employees, government and customers and will ensure services are restored as soon as possible.”

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