qld rail has bad start to the day

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    At least five people have serious injuries after a high-speed train derailment in south-east Queensland.

    A Tilt Train service with 157 passengers and seven staff on board came off the tracks north of Bundaberg just after midnight.

    The high speed Tilt Train was on its way from Brisbane to Cairns.

    Seven of the nine carriages were derailed on a section of the track where the service can reach speeds of 150 kilometres an hour.

    Queensland Rail's chief executive officer Bob Scheuber says the cause of the accident is unclear.

    "The track in that area is in very good condition so at this stage we are very unsure as to what the cause is," he said.

    "We have already contacted the rail safety regulator here in Queensland who has arranged for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to lead the investigation."

    Queensland Transport minister Paul Lucas says the first priority is to treat the injured.

    "That always has to be the first priority and the police and the emergency services with QR's cooperation have been attending to that," he said.

    "Now that everyone is off-site the task of investigating the incident in earnest and in detail will begin."

    Some people are being treated at the scene.

    Authorities say about five people have been seriously hurt, 15 have moderate injuries and up to 100 people are being treated for minor cuts and bruises at hospitals in the region.

    One woman who has been at the scene, Michelle Bauer, says carriages have knocked down trees and become stuck in the ground.

    "The track isn't all that far from the main roads and one of the carriages has gone through the fence from the main road and that's where they're getting their patients from I think," she said.

    One of the train's passengers Frank Houdini says he thinks he was woken by the train coming off the tracks.

    "What I believe must have happened is that the train must have been in midair and then it hit," he said.

    "When it hit, it dug down into the dirt and it just went chaos after that, and the next minute I know I've gone through the front door and there's no more train in front of me either and there's no other carriage and I've hit the ground and stood up and as I stood up I looked behind and the train just stopped behind me."

    A command post has been set up at Rockhampton police station to handle the scores of inquiries about the accident.

    Police have established a telephone hotline for people concerned about relatives who may have been involved in the train accident.

    The number is 1800-100-188.

    Dave R.
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