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What happened

At about 2119 on 9 April 2013, freight train 331 derailed while travelling between Burnie and Boyer in Tasmania. The train travelled for about 2.5 km while derailed and came to a stop at Lowdina, about 48 km north of Hobart.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB investigation found that a large twist defect in the track near Lowdina caused the leading wheelset of the third wagon’s trailing bogie to unload and derail.

The investigation further found that it is likely that a previously undetected, small to medium sized twist defect, either at or near the derailment site, developed under the passage of train 331.

What's been done as a result

Prior to this incident, the network owner/manager (TasRail) had identified the need to renew the track infrastructure in the area of the derailment and anticipates that the track between Colebrook and Campania should be renewed by June 2014.

Safety message

Early detection and conscientious management of track defects is critical in maintaining safe rail operations.

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Safety issues

RO-2013-012-SI-01 - RO-2013-012-SI-02 - RO-2013-012-SI-03 -  

Twist defect detection

The twist defect was not detected by TasRail’s inspection/monitoring systems, increasing the risk of derailment.

Safety issue details
Issue number:RO-2013-012-SI-01
Who it affects:TasRail
Status:Adequately addressed


Elevated risk controls

TasRail had not instigated proactive action to manage the elevated risks associated with ongoing track stability issues at, or near, the derailment site in accordance with their maintenance procedures.

Safety issue details
Issue number:RO-2013-012-SI-02
Who it affects:TasRail
Status:Adequately addressed


Track inspection intervals

Track inspections were not consistently conducted at intervals of not more than 96 hours, in accordance with TasRail’s standard.

Safety issue details
Issue number:RO-2013-012-SI-03
Who it affects:TasRail
Status:Adequately addressed

General details
Date: 09 April 2013 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 2125 EST  
Location   (show map):Lowdina Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Tasmania Occurrence type: Derailment 
Release date: 15 October 2013  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Train details
Train registration: 331 
Type of operation: Freight 
Damage to train: Serious 
Departure point:Burnie, Tas.
Destination:Boyer, Tas.
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Last update 14 November 2018