THE Trans-Australian railway between Adelaide and Tarcoola has re-opened to freight trains bound for Western Australia in the wake of the South Australian floods.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation had spent more than three weeks repairing the damaged tracks after heavy rain fall and floods severed the rail network.

The damage had prevented freight services to Western Australia, impacting food supplies and causing shortages in major supermarkets.

More than a hundred ARTC staff had worked to repair the rail network, which had initially been damaged in 18 different locations.

Nine freight trains are expected to have accessed the network today, enabling the movement of supplies along the rail link connecting Western Australia and the Northern Territory to the eastern states.

ARTC group executive interstate network Simon Ormsby said the crews and contractors working on the interstate network are deserving of Australia’s gratitude.

“In the end we had more than 100 staff on the ground working around the clock to fix 18 locations along a 300-kilometre stretch of track in 24 days,” he said.

“This was a tremendous display of co-ordination and effort with our on ground work supported by ARTC project management and logistics staff from across the country.”

More than 25 units of heavy machinery were used across the work sites and in a number of areas requiring repairs to access roads between the highway and rail network.

Mr Ormsby thanked the companies which rallied to support the efforts, including McMahons, Exact Mining, and Bardavcol, which had re-allocated resources from their mining and road projects in the region.

“I would also like to thank all our customers for their patience during this period while they have been working with us as we moved towards the resumption of services today,” he said.

“We are hoping to get back to normal operation as soon as possible.”

While rails were out of action, the Western Australian government had worked with Pacific National and Linfox to create a land bridge allowing for the delivery of containers via trucks.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator had also allowed larger road trains to access different road freight networks to help deliver critical supplies.

The federal government had also exempted some voyages to Western Australia from measures outlined in the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012.

Woolworths has reportedly taken advantage of the coastal shipping option to ship goods to the west, the first ship having left Sydney on 8 February to arrive at Port of Fremantle by 22 February.

The coastal shipping exemption is expected to facilitate the delivery of more than 3500 additional pallets of goods to Fremantle.

Transport minister Rita Saffioti thanked the ARTC, retailers, industry, and truck drivers in particular for helping keep supplies moving.

“It will take some time to clear the backlog of supplies, so I encourage everyone to remain patient and to continue to only buy what you need over the next few weeks,” she said.

“We are continuing to allow truck deliveries to supermarkets 24/7, under changes to planning laws in 2020, which will mean we can get more essential goods and supplies back onto our supermarket shelves quicker.”