What happened

Pacific National train 9337N left Moss Vale bound for Narrandera, NSW. The train consisted of two locomotives (8113 and 8109) hauling 15 empty wagons for a total length of 295.2 m and weight of 634.6 gross tonnes.

While travelling towards Junee, the train crew’s attention was drawn towards the track works on the Down Main line. Consequently, the crew did not notice the distant Warning sign located at the 482.000 km point, 2000 m prior to the Stop sign. At about 0955, while approaching Junee at a speed of approximately 50 km/h, the train crew observed the Stop sign ahead and immediately placed the brake handle into the emergency position. The train passed over the 3 detonators placed at the Stop sign and came to a stand approximately 75 m past their limit of authority.

The Network Controller (located in Junee) was advised of the incident and the train crew relieved. Both drivers were tested at Cootamundra which proved negative for the presence of alcohol or drugs.

The train crew had been distracted by the track works on the Down Main line between the 479.500 km and 483.500 km points. As a result, they did not see the Warning sign. It is likely that had they noticed the Warning sign they would have taken appropriate action to stop train 9337N at or prior to the Stop sign.

Safety message

The ATSB SafetyWatch initiative highlights the broad safety concerns that come out of our investigation findings and from the occurrence data reported to us by industry. One of the safety concerns is safe work on rail.

This occurrence demonstrates the importance of train crews remaining vigilant while carrying out the driving task, especially where a method of special working has been implemented due to track work.