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Scorching heat stops outback trains

Sunday January 13, 2013 - 14:23 EDT

Trains have been halted in western Queensland amid fears tracks may buckle in the scorching heat.

The state is enduring heatwave conditions, with the mercury climbing into the 40s in many inland centres.

Queensland Rail (QR) says passengers travelling on board its Spirit of the Outback train were put onto buses at Emerald this morning to travel west to Longreach.

Similar arrangements have been made for passengers travelling from Longreach to Brisbane tomorrow, who will have to take a bus to Rockhampton before catching the train south.

QR says it is a safety precaution due to concern about the track buckling as temperatures soar.

It was 34 degrees in Longreach and 42 degrees in Thargomindah by mid-morning.



Senior forecaster Brett Harrison says Ipswich, west of Brisbane, is likely to hit 40 degrees today.

"We do expect most areas of Queensland to remain hot today," he said.

"Some areas will warm up even further, particularly around the south-east interior. Most of the state should see above 40 degrees apart from areas near the coast.

"We are expecting 40 degrees as a top temperature in Ipswich today and a little bit cooler around the coastal areas.

"All of those temperatures above average for this time of the year and we will see a cooler change moving through on Monday."

Mr Harrison says showers are expected for most of the state over the next few days.

"We will start to see cooling in southern Queensland during tomorrow as we see cloud building," he said.

The state has endured several days of high temperatures.

Yesterday Thargomindah and Birdsville in the state's south-west reached 49 degrees - their hottest January day since records began.

Roma was 44.6 degrees on Thursday, while Winton equalled its top temperature this week.

Coen in the far north beat a record that stood for almost 30 years, while a long-standing record at Windorah was also broken.

Many other centres including St George, Cloncurry and Charleville recorded a minimum in the high 20s.

Dozens of fires are still burning across the state but none are threatening properties.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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