A fully-loaded ore train derailed near Vassijaure en route to Narvik on the evening of December 17th. Since then, intensive work has been under way to gain an overview and investigate and remedy the situation. For LKAB, among other measures, this has involved clean-up of the accident site and recovery of ore cars and locomotives. The latter task is reaching completion.
“Work has progressed well, despite subzero temperatures and darkness, and we are maintaining regular and close dialogue with both the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority (Haverikommissionen) and the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket),” says Caroline Wiss, CEO, LKAB Malmtrafik.
On Christmas Day, Monday December 25th, LKAB’s team completed its share of the clean-up operation and left the site. For LKAB’s part, what remains to be done is to ensure that the material that must be sent to Haverikommissionen’s premises is packed and delivered, and that the 11 ore cars remaining on the track are recovered.
”Personnel from our rolling-stock workshop will travel up to the site to do this today, December 28th. Subsequently, further recovery and salvage work must be done with the assistance of Kiruna Wagon, but this is not urgent at this time,” says Catarina Albertsson, section manager for rolling stock, LKAB Malmtrafik.
Haverikommissionen’s personnel have left the accident site, but the investigation is ongoing and LKAB will continue to provide information, documentation and other assistance.
“Personnel on site noticed that some damage to the track had been caused by a train. It is too soon to determine the actual cause of the damage or whether this is in any way related to the derailment. We have seen that a wheel set on one of the ore cars is damaged. For safety reasons, we have taken the 40 ore cars that are equipped with wheel sets from the same consignment off the line. We are now awaiting the outcome of Haverikommissionen’s investigation,” says Caroline Wiss.
Of course, for Trafikverket, much remains to be done. Some 25,000 railway ties (sleepers) will have to be replaced along the 15 kmstretch between Tornehamn and Vassijaure. This work began on Saturday, December 23rd and Trafikverket announced in a press release that work is proceeding well, despite the weather conditions. Switches and rails will also have to be replaced, there is a constant need for snow removal and damage assessment is ongoing.
”The most recent preliminary forecast for resumption of northbound traffic on the Ore Railway is January 9th, although this may be revised depending on how well work goes. However, we will proceed on the basis of what we now know, until a new forecast is announced. Despite the circumstances, I would like to commend all who have worked over the past week for their fantastic efforts and for the excellent co-operation among everyone involved,” concludes Linda Bjurholt, logistics manager, LKAB.