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THE HUNTER Valley rail network is gradually re-opening after heavy rainfall and serious flooding halted operations last week.

The closure from Tuesday 5 July had disrupted coal deliveries to Port of Newcastle and local power stations.

But the Australian Rail Track Corporation has announced services are returning to the line with limited operations following successful restoration works by local authorities.

The SES reportedly opened the floodgates at Maitland Station on Wednesday this week. ARTC and its contractors had been assessing track damage and reinstating signalling and track equipment.

It is understood the first trains resumed on Thursday evening. ARTC said the trains will be delivering coal to the power stations, with more coal trains expected to run on Friday.

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ARTC said it had been working closely with power generators and authorities such as the SES to resume services as soon as safely possible.

Wayne Johnson, ARTC group executive Hunter Valley network, said he was very pleased to have the trains resuming service on the network shortly after the major flooding event.

“Getting services back so soon is testament to outstanding work by our team and our contractors, showing commendable resilience in extremely difficult working conditions,” Mr Johnson said.

“We have prioritised coal trains as the first trains to resume service given the importance of resuming supply to power stations, with agricultural products for food production to commence soon after.”

Mr Johnson thanked customers and the local community for their patience during the disruption to normal services.

“We would also like to thank local authorities including Maitland City Council, Transport for NSW, with a special call out to the NSW Police and the State Emergency Service, for their co-operation during this difficult period.

“We will keep the local community informed as we move the network back to normal operations.”

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