At about 0400 (CDT) on Wednesday 11 April an ARTC ballast train 8M24N travelling on the interstate mainline between Broken Hill to Kinalung derailed at the 1118.500 km mark. The derailment was initiated by the 26th wagon as a result of a loading irregularity. The crew of the train was physically unhurt. There was minor damage to the wagon and considerable track damage over a 4 km length.
Uneven loading of ballast wagons increases the potential of
derailment. In 2010, the Independent Transport Safety Regulator
(ITSR) released a Rail Industry Safety Notification (RISN) No. 32
on the "operation of less than safely loaded wagons". Although the
notice refers to coal trains, some of the issues raised in the RISN
are also applicable to ballast trains such as ensuring the
appropriate wagon loading configurations are in place.
To ensure wagons are evenly loaded, the rail operator's procedures for checking the load distribution need to be followed and carried out to the required standard.