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The ATSB has found that strong winds during a thunderstorm could have caused a train derailment in central South Australia.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has today released its final report into the investigation of a freight train derailment near Tarcoola in South Australia on 1 November 2006.

The FreightLink train, travelling from Darwin to Adelaide, derailed during a thunderstorm about five kilometres east of Tarcoola. Freight wagons in the middle of the train appeared to have 'tipped over' while the train was travelling at about 67km/h in a severe thunderstorm and there was no evidence of any track or train defect that could have caused the derailment.

The investigation established that it was possible that the combined effects of strong winds at the time and the wagons' natural oscillations while travelling could have been sufficient to initiate overturning of the wagons lightly loaded with double stacked freight containers.

In the interests of enhancing future rail safety, FreightLink has been proactive in adopting a number of measures to address the safety issues identified by the ATSB and the ATSB has recommended that further action be considered.

Copies of the report can be downloaded from the ATSB's internet site at www.atsb.gov.au or obtained from the ATSB by telephoning 1800 020 616.

Media contact: 1800 020 616
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Last update 01 April 2011