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At approximately 0710 on 23 October 2010, 15 wagons on freight train 3PW4 derailed near Wodonga, Victoria. There were no injuries but serious damage to rolling-stock and rail track (including a bridge structure) was sustained during the derailment.

The investigation concluded that an axle bearing on wagon RKWY-4125C failed and completely seized, causing the inner rings to spin on the axle journal, generating and transmitting sufficient heat to the journal to make it 'plastic' and causing it to separate from the axle (commonly referred to as a screwed journal). The most likely cause of bearing seizure was a loss of interference fit between the inner rings and journal which allowed the inner rings to turn or spin on the axle journal leading to increased wear and ultimately generating significant heat and damage until the bearing completely seized. It was possible that fretting and rotational creep contributed to the loss of interference fit.

Examination of data recorded by the ARTC Bearing Acoustic Monitoring system (RailBAM) found that, over the previous 12 months, the system detected potential looseness or fretting defects on wagon RKWY-4125C, but did not record any apparent fault trend. Nor did the system record any bearing defect on wagon RKWY-4125C when train 3PW4 passed through the system on 21 October 2010.

While there was no documented evidence of such, Pacific National advised that they actively in-service monitor the risk of looseness and fretting damage to bearing components, but since mid-2007 have not relied solely on fault indications identified by RailBAM. It is recognised that, with current maintenance processes in place, bearing failure due to looseness and fretting is relatively rare. However, without documented records, bearing failure due to looseness and fretting damage cannot be effectively monitored.

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At approximately 0710 on 23 October 2010, 15 wagons on freight train 3PW4 derailed near Wodonga, Victoria. There were no injuries but serious damage to rolling stock and track infrastructure was sustained during the derailment.

Download Preliminary Report
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Safety issue

RO-2010-011-SI-01 -  

Managing the risk of looseness and fretting damage

There was no documented evidence that Pacific National actively manages the risk of looseness and fretting damage to bearing components

Issue Number:RO-2010-011-SI-01
Who it affects:All owners and operators of rollingstock
Status:Adequately addressed

 

General details

Date: 23 Oct 2010 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0710 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
Location:Wodonga  
State: VIC  
Release date: 19 Oct 2011 Occurrence category: Accident 
Report status: Final Highest injury level: None 
 

Train details

Train operator: Pacific National 
Train registration: Train 3PW4 
Type of operation: Freight train 
Damage to train: Substantial 
Departure point:Perth, WA
Destination:Port Kembla, NSW
 
 
 
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Last update 19 October 2011