XPT?OFF THE RAILS
By MEL MARTIN
AS they waited for the coach that would take them to Sydney yesterday instead of the cancelled XPT, Jim and Barbara Reeve worried they would have to go hungry.
"We're a bit deflated, we were planning to have lunch and dinner on the train," Mrs Reeve said.
"We don't know whether we'll stop for buffet stops, but the fact that it's for safety is a good thing."
Other than being concerned over the lack of information, passengers at Coffs Harbour station were nonplussed about having to take the bus to their destinations ? even though it arrived 30 minutes after the scheduled train departure.
The entire NSW country rail fleet of XPT trains was taken out of service yesterday to allow RailCorp to test all the locomotives for an axle fault, after an XPT locomotive derailed at Harden on Thursday.
Road coaches replaced train services from Sydney to Melbourne, Brisbane, Dubbo, Grafton and Casino.
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Yesterday RailCorp was unable to say how long this would take and when the XPTs would be back on track.
"Our inspections are under way," a RailCorp spokesman said.
"We know where to look and we're trying to find any defect as soon as possible, but it's only in its initial stage.
"We will only restore the service when we're convinced it's safe to do so."
According to RailCorp, the derailed locomotive was not pulling any passenger carriages and no one was injured.
"But our preliminary assessment of the likely cause . . . identified a defect in the axle of the locomotive," RailCorp chief executive officer Vince Graham told ABC radio.
"And as a result of that identification we moved very quickly (Thursday) night to ground the entire XPT fleet so that we could test all of the remaining axles . . . to satisfy ourselves that this problem at Harden was not a problem for the remainder of the fleet."