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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Floods derail freight train in Australia

Wed, 28 Dec 2011

AFP reported that heavy flooding following a tropical cyclone in northern Australia swept a 20 carriage freight train off a bridge on Tuesday, injuring the driver, as the storm system threatened to intensify.

The iron ore train derailed following torrential rain in the Northern Territory caused by Grant, a tropical cyclone that triggered heavy flooding in some areas, swamping roads and stranding scores of people.

Its two crew members both managed to escape and were assessed by medical staff who were sent by helicopter to the scene, with the driver later airlifted to hospital with spinal injuries, according to local media reports.

Northern Territory police said in a statement that "The ATSB (Australian Transport Safety Bureau) has been notified of the crash and will take carriage of the investigation.”

The Northern Territory's environment department, NRETAS, said it was examining whether any material from the train had leaked into the floodwaters. It said “It's still unclear exactly what the components were on that train. We will definitely be sending down investigators who will do an environmental impact and check it all out, but it's inaccessible at the moment because of the floodwaters. All I can say is we are investigating. It is of concern.”

The railway's operator, US-based Genesee and Wyoming, said a number of containers carrying "domestic consumables and copper concentrate" had derailed and 50 metres of track had been washed away.

Copper concentrate is considered a class nine environmentally hazardous substance.

(Sourced from AFP and

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