Harvesting Operations at South Johnstone Mill Impacted by Derailment

Following driveway repairs by a private land owner, the condition of the track caused a derailment on MSF Sugar’s main cane railway line at Lawrence Road, Innisfail.

MEDIA RELEASE

THURSDAY 14 JUNE 2018

HARVESTING OPERATIONS AT SOUTH JOHNSTONE MILL IMPACTED BY DERAILMENT

HARVESTING activities at MSF Sugar’s South Johnstone Mill will be impacted for several days as a consequence of a cane train derailment involving a double-header locomotive hauling 60 fully laden 6 tonne cane bins on the main line at Lawrence Road, Innisfail.

The incident occurred at 3.48pm on Wednesday 13 June when a private landowner was using a backhoe to repair his driveway, and was working across the railway line itself.

The double-header locomotive came around a bend and upon seeing the hazard, the loco driver sounded his horn to alert the driver of the backhoe to the presence of the train.

The landowner was able to move the backhoe out of the way before the loco came across.

However, residual material left on the track caused the locomotives to derail.

South Johnstone Mill Manager Kim Kendall said the locomotive driver was taken to Innisfail hospital for treatment and was later discharged.

“The people involved are safely home with their families today, so that’s a good result given the circumstance,” Mr Kendall said.

“What the incident does do is remind all residents living in and around our cane railway network that with crushing season underway, our lines are now active 24/7 and locos can travel through at any time.

“We urge people to be aware of where the cane railway lines are, and to take responsibility for their own safety around the network,” he added.

“While it’s unfortunate that our operations have been impacted, the situation that led to the derailment could have had a tragic outcome.”

Both locomotives were extensively damaged and 13 of the 6 tonne cane bins were also severely damaged, with a large amount of sugarcane destined for the mill being lost.

The two damaged locomotives will be removed in coming days by a 200 tonne crane, which requires special road permits to travel to the location of the derailment. The locomotives will be returned to MSF Sugar’s South Johnstone Mill workshop for major repairs. The section of railway line damaged during the incident will also be replaced.

Mr Kendall said the impact on cane harvesting operations in the South Johnstone region was still being determined.

Full supply to the mill is expected to be delayed until Sunday 17 June.

A thorough investigation is underway and engineering clearance will be required before the cane railway line is reinstated to active service.

ENDS

 

Image Above: Following driveway repairs by a private land owner, the condition of the track caused a derailment on MSF Sugar’s main cane railway line at Lawrence Road, Innisfail.

 

For more information please contact:
Wendy Hughes
MSF Sugar Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager
Mob: 0417 043 954