Another Landslide – Another Challenge

Or… So much for Promising Signs!

On Friday 26 March, the second Kuranda Tourist Train of the day rounded a sharp curve on the range, just before No 1 tunnel, and found the tracks obstructed by a recent landslide. With very little time to react, let alone stop, the lead locomotive struck the spill and derailed. The train was propelled back down the range by the second loco to Redlynch, where light engines were attached to the rear and brought back to Cairns. There were a couple of minor injuries and five passengers were transferred to hospital during the recovery phase – they were release by later that evening.

While this was happening, the boys were fighting their way out of the Delaney Gorge on our beloved Savannahander – there will be a separate post about this soon. So while the Savannahlander is remote from its servicing depot, it is on the other side of the landslide and able to do the run from Kuranda. So while we are waiting for the line to reopen, we will arrange for bus transfers to and from Cairns at each end of the trip.

Depending on what you read and who you listen to, the track will re-open anytime between Easter Sunday and never. The never part seems to be some outrageous speculation put forward by mainstream media as a mechanism into scaring people into buying their “news” papers.  Its seems that mainstream media get carried away with reporting on, and becoming an informed authority on rail safety without any attempt at putting incidents like these into any sort of perspective. I understand that the most serious injury suffered during the landslide incident was a damaged hand. Yet while the Savannahlander travels around over the Easter Break, over a dozen Australians will unfortunately lose their lives on the roads. This does not entertain calls for the closure of the nations highways, so it amuses people in the rail industry to read that ‘Safety Concerns threaten the closure of the line‘ when this type of incident happens. The net result if such speculation came to fruition would be that you would have far more cars and buses on the already more dangerous roads.

Anyone that is booked on the Savannahlander while the range closure is in force will be contacted and the alternative arrangements for travel to and from Kuranda will be made known to you. Of course, we’ll keep the blog and website updated as well.