Two locomotives and a further 18 wagons remained on the track and were not impacted.
TasRail Chief Executive Damien White said it was a regrettable but relatively minor incident.
“The most likely cause of the derailment appears to be track related”, he said. “Our Track Engineers will carry out further inspections once the track is cleared and we will download and review all available train data over coming days”.
Mr White also revealed that at this early stage he is confident that train speed was not a factor in the incident. “I am also confident that TasRail’s new Advanced Network Control System operated as expected”, he said.
“This area of the network had not yet been upgraded but was scheduled for track re-sleepering in coming months”, Mr White said. “A Temporary Speed Restriction had been applied as a precaution, limiting train speeds to 20 kilometres per hour “.
TasRail has deployed a number of work crews to clear and repair approximately 100 metres of track. It is expected that the Western Line will remain closed for a further 24 hours. In the meantime, the Company is working with a small number of affected customers to minimise any disruption to services.
An investigation to determine the cause of the derailment is underway. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator have been notified.