Since advice provided on 29 December 2010, QR National railings in Queensland have continued to be affected by widespread flooding and this is expected to continue to impact over coming weeks.
Total tonnages across the QR National coal network, which is used by both QR National and Pacific National trains, will also be impacted.
While floodwaters are yet to fully recede in some areas and impacts on customers are being assessed, the specific impact on tonnages and network recovery costs on Full Year published earnings forecast remains under assessment. There is progress on the recovery efforts across the company’s operations.
The Moura coal line is scheduled to re-open to all traffic today (13 Jan); and the Blackwater network is now targeted to re-open late next week, following a detailed track inspection yesterday (12 Jan). A full description of coal network status and operations is as follows:
* The Newlands line to Abbot Point Coal terminal near Bowen continues to operate. The Newlands system has remained open throughout and while it operated at reduced railings in December it has recovered well in January
* The Goonyella network into the ports of Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point, south of Mackay, continues to operate. It was closed from 24 December to 30 December following derailment of a Pacific National train near Yukan. The network is currently working at around 70% capacity due to reduced coal availability.
* The Blackwater network that feeds into the port of Gladstone is expected to re-open next week, following a detailed inspection and assessment of flood-damaged track yesterday (12 Jan). The system has been closed since 27 December. QR National has mobilised resources, both people and equipment, to ensure repairs are completed efficiently. On current estimates, services are expected to resume on the line as early as Thursday (20 Jan), pending no significant rain and recovery operations proceeding as planned. It is planned that services would be available from Burngrove (near Blackwater) east from that time, and then progressively to mines located on the (northern) Gregory branch from the weekend (22/23 January). Precise dates for resumption of services for the Minerva and Rolleston mines are yet to be determined.
* The Moura system is re-scheduled to re-open to all traffic today (13 January). The system was closed on 29 December and then partially re-opened to the mines of Callide and Boundary Hill on 4 January.
* In southern Queensland, QR National is unable to operate services west of Brisbane because of flooding and damage to the rail line on the Toowoomba Range following a landslide on 10 January. QR National is awaiting further advice from the network owner, Queensland Rail, on the extent of the damage to infrastructure and likely timeframe for restoration of the track. QR National is unable to provide services to coal customers, west of Brisbane and to grain and general freight customers in south-west Queensland.
* QR National’s general freight services along the North Coast Line to locations beyond Gladstone to Cairns are not able to operate because the line remains cut by floodwaters at Rockhampton. This is expected to continue through to mid next week.
Many areas of the coal network continue to be subject to speed restrictions, which is standard practice following a large flood event. It allows QR National to monitor track condition as train services resume and increase and future repair requirements are assessed.
QR National is working closely with all participants in the coal export supply chain to maximise throughput. It is liaising daily with coal mining customers to understand the coal available for railing, including that available on stockpiles and when coal production is re-commencing.
QR National is also mobilising all resources for its train services – staff, locomotives and wagons – to ensure they are ready to respond to customer requirements when track infrastructure becomes available.
QR National has ensured the orderly departure of staff from facilities likely to be impacted or isolated by floodwaters, including workshops at Rockhampton and Redbank, near Ipswich.
QR National continues to assist communities in which its people live and work across Queensland.
Senior QRN representatives are also part of the Queensland Recovery Taskforce that is being led by Major General Mick Slater.
“The flood impacts across the length and breadth of Queensland as they are unfolding are colossal,” QR National Managing Director Lance Hockridge said. ”We extend our sympathy to those who have lost loved ones and to those burdened with the heartache of returning to damaged homes and communities.
“Thousands of QR National staff live and work in these flood-affected communities across Queensland. We are supporting staff who have been directly affected and also allowing them the flexibility to help out work colleagues and neighbours who have been impacted.”