Freight train derails near Palmerston

WILMA MCCORKINDALE AND NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 16:25 19/02/2014
Train derailed near Palmerston
DAVID MCKAY/Fairfax NZ

OFF-TRACK: The derailed train near Palmerston.

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A freight train derailed north of Dunedin early this morning, closing the main trunk line near Palmerston.

The train derailed about 5am at Hampden, nearly 80km north of Dunedin - but it wasn't for another 22km that nine wagons tipped off the track, just north of Palmerston.

The only person on the train was the driver. No one was injured, a KiwiRail spokeswomen said.

The southbound freight train was hauling 20 wagons of general freight, including meat product and by-product.

Two large cranes and four diggers have arrived at the scene, two-and-a half kilometres north of Palmerston to begin salvage of the nine wagonloads of cargo.

The main trunk line remains closed for the salvage which is expected to be completed in a matter of days.

KiwiRail said it was too early to estimate the cost of repairs to the line. The derailment caused twisting of about 20m of track.

The locomotive and a front portion of the train had already left the site, the KiwiRail spokeswoman said.

The cause of the derailment won't be known until an investigation is carried out.

KiwiRail was updating affected customers on the situation so they could make alternative arrangements to move their products, she said.

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