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First section of derailed train returning to Sydney after deadly crash

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The painstaking job to remove the wreck of the XPT train that derailed north of Melbourne, killing two, has started.

The painstaking job to remove the wreck of the XPT train that derailed north of Melbourne, killing two, has started.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is working with Transport for NSW, which operates the XPT service, to clear the crash site at Wallan.

The train's rear power car and one of five passenger carriages have been winched back onto the tracks and will now begin its slow journey back to Sydney, more than three days since the deadly crash.

But the mangled front locomotive still remains on its side, and its removal could still be days away.

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 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 took approximately seven lifts to remove the carriages and locomotives from the track.

The ARTC said in a statement that it expected to begin the repairs to the track and signal infrastructure which was damaged in the accident on Tuesday.

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.

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Eleven of the train's 160 passengers were also injured.

Wallan train derailment ariel

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.

Source: 9News

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