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The ATSB has found that a broken rail emanating from rail defect was the most probable cause of the derailment of a freight train in South Australia.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has today released its final report into the investigation of a derailment on 10 June 2007 near Bates in SA in which 11 wagons in the middle of the train derailed and 4 overturned and were extensively damaged.

The investigation established that the derailment probably resulted from an undetected flaw in the rail which caused a section to break away under the train. While track at the derailment site had been ultrasonically tested for cracks in the past, the frequency of these inspections did not adequately take into consideration issues such as the rail quality, age, ambient temperature profile and train impact loadings.

In the interests of enhancing future rail safety, the Australian Rail Track Corporation has been proactive in adopting a number of measures to address the safety issues identified by the ATSB. These include an increase in rail testing frequency and a review of their Code of Practice to enhance engineering maintenance/testing procedures in relation to ultrasonic rail flaw detection.

Copies of the report can be downloaded from the ATSB's internet site at www.atsb.gov.au.

Media contact: 1800 020 616
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Last update 01 April 2011