Julatten trying to prevent a Kuranda style landslide

Tue 30 Mar 

Rex Range prevents a Kuranda style landslide

By Roy Weavers

As reported on Newsport on Friday a landslide derailed the Kuranda Scenic train. The landslide was caused by the torrential rain that Cairns has been experiencing over the past week.

The derailment happened just after 10.00am last Friday 26th March as the the Kuranda train was travelling from Cairns up to Kuranda. The incident happened about 16kms from Redlynch Station when a an unexpected landslide pushed the leading locomotive off the rails.

It managed to stay upright in the incident, which probably helped to prevent a lot more casualties. Some five passengers but there were no serious injuries. From the pictures distributed it would appear that the accident could have been a lot worse had the landslide got out of control. An official investigation is underway and we will bring you all the details as soon as they are available.

If you have travelled up to Julatten on the range road you will have seen and probably been delayed by a lot of dept of transport construction work to stabilise the mountainside and prevent a Kuranda style landslide occurring on the winding range road.

The work is shoring up the mountainside with reinforced prefabricated concrete blocks in a similar way to the work that was carried out on the Capt Cook coastal highway some years ago near the Rex Lookout. These prefabricated concrete blocks lock together and then earth is piled in behind them to ensure the unstable rock formations settle and can not create a rock fall or landslide falling onto unsuspecting road travellers during heavy rainfalls.
Prevention is always better than cure but it's a tribute to the workmanship of the 19th century railway engineers that last Fridays landslide didn't cause more trouble than it did.

The locomotive is still at the scene but engineers are confident that as soon as the investigation is concluded at the scene, they will be able to move it and then work with the investigation team to sort out a re-opening date for the scenic service.

The current weather forecast is for more rain (and thunderstorms) in the Cairns region so it looks like Julatten have got their preventative work timing just right!