The deviation built on the Mt Isa train line around the Julia Creek derailment site had its first test overnight following last month’s incident.
A freight train successfully passed over the temporary track at 6:20pm giving the green light for inland passenger trains to begin commuting tomorrow.
Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchcliffe says Queensland Rail employed Golder Associates, as of last week, to commence environmental monitoring at the site to ensure no further environmental damage was done.
Work is also being done at the derailment site to monitor contamination after approximately 31,500 litres of sulphuric acid spilled from the train.
The Minister said 4,000 tonnes of rock, 2,000 tonnes of road base, 1,000 sleepers, 1.6 kilometres of rail and 2,800 tonnes of ballast were used by 50 QR employees over 4,500 hours of work to build the deviation.
“We know communities in the North West rely on the Mount Isa line for passenger services and to transport freight, and so constructing this deviation and resuming trains as quickly and safely as possible has been one of our highest priorities,” says Mr Hinchliffe.
Queensland Rail Regional General Manager North Queensland Michael Mitchell said the next priority was to work with freight companies to formulate a plan for extra services on the line to make up for lost time.
“We recognise the importance of the Mount Isa line to the local economy, particularly in shipping freight to the Port of Townsville, and remain confident we can complete any additional freight movements before the end of the financial year,” says Mr Mitchell.
Residents can stay informed through their local council for updates on the recovery process and environmental issues.