Coal train derails in Australia's Queensland state, no injuries

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -A coal train in major exporter Australia's Queensland state derailed after it hit a freight train late on Sunday night, haulage operator Aurizon Holdings Ltd said on Monday.

The accident, which did not result in any injuries, derailed a number of container wagons and damaged the train track and overhead power lines, Aurizon said in a statement to Reuters.

As a result, the rail corridor between the towns of Rockhampton and Gladstone, which carries coal from the state's Bowen Basin, will be closed until the line can be repaired, Aurizon said.

It was unclear how long the line would remain closed.

Australia is the world's top exporter of metallurgical coal, mostly excavated from the Bowen Basin, shipping out some 170 million tonnes a year, government figures showed.

The port of Gladstone exported 62 million tonnes of coal last year of which 30% was thermal coal, according to the port.

"At approximately 715pm last night (29 Jan) ... there was an incident involving an Aurizon coal train and Pacific National freight train," Aurizon said in a statement.

"Rail safety officers from the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) were on site today to commence the investigation." Once investigators have cleared the site, repairs can be undertaken, it said.

Repairs include moving wagons, fixing track infrastructure and restoration of damaged overhead wires and electrical masts, and could take up to five days.

"This time frame is subject to further assessment once rail teams get access to the site," Aurizon said.

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Additional reporting by Muyu Xu; Editing by Kim Coghill and Christopher Cushing)

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