The painstaking job of removing the wreck of the XPT train that derailed north of Melbourne, killing two people, will continue throughout the coming days.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) started working on Sunday with Transport for NSW, which operates the XPT service, to clear the crash site at Wallan.
Investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau spent Saturday examining the scene of the derailment, looking at the maintenance of the train and railway as well as signalling data.
The track and train were then handed back to their respective owners: ARTC, the federal body in charge of track maintenance, and Transport for NSW.
Early on Sunday morning three cranes were set up to begin the first lift of the wreckage in an operation that will take up to three days.
Cranes will take approximately seven lifts to remove the carriages and locomotives from the track.
“Over the next few days equipment including sleepers, rail and signalling equipment will be delivered to the site to repair the rail infrastructure once the XPT is removed,” an ARTC spokesperson said.
“Early this week we expect to begin the repairs to the track and signal infrastructure which was damaged in the incident.”
The train’s driver, 54-year-old Canberra resident John Kennedy, and his pilot, a 49-year-old man from Castlemaine in Victoria, died when the Sydney to Melbourne XPT diesel locomotive and five carriages derailed at Wallan on Thursday night.
Eleven of the train’s 160 passengers were also injured.
It was reported the train was supposed to slow to 15km/h as it was diverted through a different part of track near Wallan station. Some passengers from the XPT have said it was speeding when it derailed.
Buses are set to replace all Seymour, Shepparton and Albury train services until further notice.
The ATSB is to release a preliminary report in about a month, ahead of a final report in 18 months.