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The Trans-Australian railway line re-opens following severe flood damage in WA


For the first time in more than three weeks a train has crossed the Nullabor, thanks to the reopening of the Trans-Australian railway line.

The railway line was closed after a one-in-200-year flooding event severely damaged hundreds of kilometres of the line in the middle of the country.

Since then, 100 people have laboured around the clock to fix it.

A train has moved across the Trans-Australian railway line for the first time in more than three weeks.
A train has moved across the Trans-Australian railway line for the first time in more than three weeks. (9News)

And now the first freight service has travelled across the tracks.

“From the east coast across to Perth and Kalgoorlie, those rail freight services are back on track,” Pacific National director of corporate affairs Andrew Huckel said.

The initial freight trains were almost 2km long, with one hauling around 300 containers of produce on its way to Kewdale from South Australia.

It will be followed by two similar services from New South Wales.

“(They’re carrying) essential household goods, hygiene products, building materials, furniture, you name it,” Mr Huckel said.

When the floods hit, the train lines buckled and were littered with debris, preventing much-needed supplies from entering Western Australia.

The Trans-Australian railway line was closed after a one-in-200-year flooding event.
The Trans-Australian railway line was closed after a one-in-200-year flooding event. (9News)

Western Australia relies on the Trans-Australian railway for 80 per cent of the goods in supermarkets.

Grocery shop shelves were thus left empty forcing some supermarkets to introduce purchase limits and emergency supplies to be brought over from South Australia.

But the empty supermarket shelves won’t be instantly replenished; it will take about four to six weeks to clear the backlog.

“We’re throwing the kitchen sink at getting as many rail services as possible from the east coast over to the west,” Mr Huckel said.

The state government says it wants to ensure the railway line is safeguarded in case of another extreme flooding event.

“(We should) Identify the low lying areas of the train line and see if we can get some funds to improve the drainage,” WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said.

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“Shipping should play a role into the future — how that is developed should be on a national scheme.”

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