Track Rehabilitation is nice, but….

Not a week after the Gelaro Level Crossing incident another phone call comes into the office with more bad news for the passengers. A track machine had derailed in a very inaccessible spot in the Delaney Gorge, near Forsayth.

The track is undergoing a major re-sleepering project which sees plenty of track machines running around the district doing their stuff. This has been going on for the past three years.

The line is light and fragile and some of these machines are heavy and brutish. One in particular is the sleeper shuttle, which conveys a few tonnes of steel sleepers from the dump sites, to where they are needed on the track. However, it was suspected that this machine was heavier than what the old track was happy with. The derailment confirmed the suspicion.

Add to this the experience of 100mm of extremely unseasonable rain. This made conditions too hazardous for the breakdown gang to be able to re-rail the machine, and repair the resulting damage to the track. So it had to be left there.

Enter the Savannahlander, full of passengers trying to get through to Forsayth. And this was only a week after the previous cancellation because of Gelaro. At least in this case there were some things in our favour. This incident happened close to Forsayth. The train was allowed to proceed to a place called Turkey Flat, which is where the Einasleigh – Forsayth Road passes very close to the line. At only 15 km from Forsayth, it is only 15 minutes by road into town, while the train normally takes an hour to navigate its way through the Delaney Gorge. While this wasn’t the best thing to happen to those on board, at least they got a lot further than the people that travelled the previous week. Below are some photo’s of the offending machine parked in the dirt:
Shuttle derail

The machine took out a couple of lengths of rail and a bunch of sleepers while it was busy falling off the rails.