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What happened
At about 1603 (WST) on Tuesday 28 December 2010, freight train 1MP5 derailed on the Trans-Australian Railway Line at Goddards approximately 240 km east of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. The derailment occurred within a recently constructed crossing loop on a section of track managed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).

Train 1MP5 consisted of two locomotives hauling two crew vans and 49 wagons. There were no injuries as a result of the derailment but 23 wagons derailed, many of which were significantly damaged (including all triple-deck car carrier wagons) and about 700 m of track required replacement.

What the ATSB found
The ATSB determined that the derailment was a result of flange climb initiated by a track misalignment which probably grew as train 1MP5 traversed it, becoming large enough to initiate the derailment of the 11th wagon, followed by the 13th wagon and then the subsequent catastrophic derailment of wagons 15 through to 35.

Factors which contributed to the misalignment were the high ambient temperature, inadequately de-stressed rail and insufficient ballast through the derailment site. The ATSB also found that the ARTC's quality assurance processes used during the contracted construction of the crossing loop could be improved.

What has been done as a result
The ARTC have taken action as a result of the derailment and investigation relating to track construction, audit and quality control processes.

Safety message
Track managers should have robust audit and quality control processes in place to ensure that work undertaken on their railway by contractors meets the relevant contracted standard.

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Download Preliminary Report
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Preliminay report released 9 March 2010

At about 1603 on Tuesday 28 December 2010, freight train 1MP5 derailed on the Trans Australian Railway Line approximately 240 km east of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. There were no injuries as a result of the derailment but there was significant damage to rolling stock and track. The investigation to date indicates that the most probable initiator of the derailment was a track misalignment due to a heat related track buckle. The investigation is examining a number of other factors that contributed to the magnitude of the derailment.

The information contained in this preliminary report is derived from the initial investigation of the occurrence. Readers are cautioned that it is possible that new evidence may become available that alters the circumstances as depicted in the report.

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Safety issue

RO-2010-015-SI-01 -  

Documentation and quality control

The quality assurance processes used in the acceptance of the Goddards crossing loop project were not sufficiently robust to mitigate the risk of track construction inadequacies.

Safety issue details
Issue number:RO-2010-015-SI-01
Who it affects:Rail infrastructure managers and track maintainers
Status:Adequately addressed

General details
Date: 28 December 2010 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1603 WST  Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
Location:Goddards Siding  
State: Western Australia  
Release date: 29 June 2012 Occurrence category: Accident 
Report status: Final Highest injury level: None 
Train details
Train registration: 1MP5 
Type of operation: Freight 
Damage to train: Serious 
Departure point:Melbourne, Vic
Destination:Perth, WA
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Last update 29 June 2012