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At about 1856 on 24 January 2010 a loaded freight train designated 2224, travelling from Medway Junction to Berrima Junction, derailed one bogie on the second-last wagon at Exeter, NSW.

It was determined that wagon NPZH 35700U derailed due to a 'screwed journal' as a result of a wheel bearing failure. As the bearing failed, it generated and transmitted sufficient heat to the axle journal, to make it 'plastic' and allow the end carrying the failed roller bearing assembly to 'screw off'.

There was insufficient evidence to determine the cause of the bearing failure.

The investigation identified two safety issues in relation to:

  • the in-service condition monitoring of the wheel bearing which was ineffective in detecting the failing bearing before it led to the derailment, and,
  • bulk hopper wagons loaded with limestone which have been regularly operated at speeds up to 15 km/h higher than the mandated limit for some classes of track.

In both cases the train operator has taken safety action to address the issue.

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Safety issues

RO-2010-001-SI-01 - RO-2010-001-SI-02 -  

Bearing condition monitoring

The wheel bearings on train 2224, consist BT22, were only being monitored in-service by periodic inspections, roll-bys, and hot box detections. These measures were ineffective in detecting the failure of the bearing on train 2224 before it led to the derailment.

Safety issue details
Issue number:RO-2010-001-SI-01
Who it affects:All rolling stock operators
Status:Adequately addressed


Train handling

All limestone bulk hopper wagons have been operated up to 15 km/h higher than speeds specified in the Train Operating Conditions Manual, when loaded above 92 t and operated on class 1 or 1C track.

Safety issue details
Issue number:RO-2010-001-SI-02
Who it affects:All rolling stock operators
Status:Adequately addressed

General details
Date: 24 January 2010 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 2010 EDT  
Location   (show map):Exeter Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Rolling Stock Irregularity 
Release date: 04 July 2011  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Train details
Train registration: Train 2224 
Type of operation: Bulk Freight 
Damage to train: Minor 
Departure point:Medway Junction, NSW
Destination:Berrima, NSW
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Last update 14 November 2018