Rail safety issues and actions

Track maintenance

Issue number: RO-2013-007-SI-01
Who it affects: All rail safety workers and rolling stock operators
Issue owner: Australian Rail Track Corporation
Transport function: Rail: Infrastructure
Background: Investigation Report RO-2013-007
Issue release date: 14 January 2015
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB is satisfied that the timely implementation of remedial action such as more frequent condition monitoring and rectification of potential deficiencies within infrastructure will better manage and reduce the likelihood of a similar occurrence in the future.

Safety issue description

The ARTC’s inspection and maintenance practices were ineffective at identifying and correcting the deteriorating condition of track infrastructure exhibiting accelerated wear, such as 38A points at Spencer Junction.

Proactive Action

Action number: RO-2013-007-NSA-075
Action organisation: Australian Rail Track Corporation
Date: 14 January 2015
Action status: Closed

The ARTC advised that works were planned for the upgrade of 38A points from 47 kg/m to 60 kg/m elements well prior to derailment of train 9614S, though installation did not occur until shortly after the derailment. Following the installation of the upgraded infrastructure, more frequent monitoring for wear rates of the point blade(s) was undertaken. After several months of condition monitoring it became evident that the track performance and wear rates could be managed as specified in the Code of Practice and the normal inspection schedule was reinstated.

The ARTC acknowledged that the incident had identified several areas where safety outcomes could be enhanced:

  • The need for remedial actions intended to return the asset to within the specified limits, (noting that the actions may consist of a number of tasks and application of a speed restriction) must be implemented in a timely manner and be both robust and sustainable.
  • If necessary, increased targeted inspections to verify that the previously identified condition has been adequately addressed should be scheduled and the results documented.
  • Strengthening of the existing internal interface between commercial, infrastructure and operational areas to ensure that initial consultation and ongoing dialogue on matters of mutual interest
Last update 25 February 2015