THE Townsville – Mt Isa rail line is back in business following a two-week closure due to heavy flooding.

A train left Townsville on Monday night after crews certified it was safe to use earlier in the day.

Queensland Rail chief executive (and former Port of Melbourne boss) Nick Easy said about 60 employees were involved in recovering flood-damaged sections of the line as quickly as possible.

“At Prairie Creek, crews completed repairs on the western approach to the bridge, in addition to track and ballast replacement, and repairs to a bridge and associated earthworks at Little Emu Creek rail bridge due to the strong current of flood waters experienced in this area,” Mr Easy said.

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“We know how important this supply chain is for our freight customers and the local community, I’d like to thank our recovery teams for their efforts to ensure the line was restored as quickly as possible.”

It comes after severe damage to the line in early 2019 cut the key freight route between the North-West Queensland Minerals Province and Port of Townsville for about three months.

Fertiliser manufacturer Incitec Pivit took a $100m hit to its bottom lime due to the disruption to its Phosphate Hill business.

The line’s prolonged closure last year reportedly caused an increase of heavy vehicles using the Flinders Highway as companies pushed to keep mineral exports flowing, with the Department of Transport and Main Roads noting a peak of more than 180 heavy vehicles a day.

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