National

Derailed XPT removal almost completed

By AAP Newswire

The front car of a train that derailed in regional Victoria, killing its driver and pilot has been removed.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation, the federal agency in control of the section of track at Wallan where the crash happened, said the front carriage was loaded onto a truck and removed overnight.

Two more carriages will also be taken to Sydney on Wednesday before more trucks return to collect the remaining carriages later in the week.

ARTC has begun track work to repair the damaged sections of the Wallan loop, with about 70 people currently working on the site.

The XPT train from Sydney to Melbourne derailed at Wallan on February 20, killing experienced driver John Kennedy, 54, and his pilot, 49-year-old Sam Meintanis from Castlemaine.

Mr Meintanis was described by his family as "a beautiful soul who loved and lived to the full".

"He was the rock of our family, always ready to support and advise with compassion, stability and a positive outlook," a statement from his relatives read.

"Everyone who knew Sam loved and admired him and saw him as a strong and trusted leader. He was our spartan king."

It was revealed on Monday that Mr Kennedy raised concerns with a friend about train faults on previous journeys along the same route.

In a statement on Wednesday the ARTC said the main line in the immediate vicinity of the accident has been inspected, with no significant damage reported.

"As of yesterday afternoon (25 February), around three quarters of sleepers have been laid, half of the rail has been laid, signalling repairs are underway and ballasting continues," the statement reads.

"We will continue to provide full support to the ongoing investigations into the incident, which will look at all potential factors,."

Investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau were on the scene from Friday morning and will release a preliminary report after 30 days, ahead of a final report in 18 months.