Len Ashworth of the Lithgow, Australia, Mercury revealed that unknown parties rolled a log onto the line and that a train carrying the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh narrowly avoided coming off tracks when it hit the obstruction, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.
In a story published in the Mercury last week, Ashworth, now the paper's managing editor, wrote that he investigated the incident as a young reporter. He said police officials urged him to keep the incident secret, and the Mercury's then-editor agreed to do so. The story stayed under wraps for almost 40 years, Ashworth said.
In last week's story, retired detective Cliff McHardy confirmed the details of the incident, saying the log had been placed on the tracks after a "sweeper" train had passed but before the Queen's train came by, indicating the perpetrators knew its schedule.
"I was in social discussion with Cliff McHardy and he said, 'Well, the Mercury never did run that big story, do you want to run it now?'" Ashworth told the Telegraph.