Lingering floodwaters close line

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Cally DupeThe West Australian
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The damaged Wagin to Lake Grace line.
Camera IconThe damaged Wagin to Lake Grace line. Credit: Brookfield Rail

One of the State’s key grain transport routes remains closed seven weeks after flood waters inundated its tracks.

Brookfield Rail has forked out thousands in repair costs to reopen dozens of rail lines damaged by floods in early February.

But the 50km line between Lake Grace and Newdegate remains closed indefinitely.

Crews work to build up a levy bank.
Camera IconCrews work to build up a levy bank. Credit: Brookfield Rail

Brookfield Rail asset management and projects general manager Paul Lowney said parts of the line were still underwater.

“The section remains closed as there is still a significant amount of water over the tracks in some of the areas along that line,” he said.

“Unfortunately it is a matter of waiting for the water to subside and the area to try up.”

Brookfield has labelled the clean up one of the largest in its history after floods washed away soil surrounding its rail lines and damaged culverts.

The damaged Wagin to Lake Grace line.
Camera IconThe damaged Wagin to Lake Grace line. Credit: Brookfield Rail

Mr Lowney said almost 60 employees and contractors had deployed more than 30 trucks and earthmoving equipment.

“There was significant damage to the formation, culverts and smaller bridges,” he said.

“The majority of damage resulted from water washing away railway ballast, sleepers and the ground right under the railway.

“It has been a huge clean-up effort, one of the largest in our history.”

Crews work to build up a levy bank.
Camera IconCrews work to build up a levy bank. Credit: Brookfield Rail

Brookfield closed most lines in the Kwinana port zone for about a week after extensive flooding in the second week of February.

While the majority reopened by February 20, lingering flood waters meant the Wagin to Lake Grace and Lake Grace to Hyden lines reopened March 8 and 10.

Mr Lowney said Brookfield would calculate the damage bill in coming weeks.

“The total extent of the damage and costs are yet to be finalised as we are still undertaking restoration efforts on the Newdegate line,” he said.

“We’d like to thank our employees, contractors and CBH for your hard work, support, and understanding during the clean-up efforts.”

Crews work to repair a rail line.
Camera IconCrews work to repair a rail line. Credit: Brookfield Rail

CBH Group has been carting grain from its recieval sites by road since early February.

Almost farmers finished grain harvests at the end of January and had moved product to reveival sites for storage and sale.

Heavy flooding also caused damage to CBH’s Borden site when 169mm of rain fell and torrents of water lapped temporary grain pens.

About 70,000 tonnes of wheat, barley and canola were in bins and open bulkheads at the site north of Albany and the damage cost was covered by insurance.

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