Rail safety issues and actions

Actions following derailment on 11 September 2013

Issue number: RO-2013-026-SI-03
Who it affects: Track managers
Issue owner: Australian Rail Track Corporation
Transport function: Rail: Infrastructure
Background: Investigation Report RO-2013-026
Issue release date: 13 January 2016
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

ARTC has taken safety actions to address the recommendation and safety issue (actions articulated in their 90 day response to recommendation).

Safety issue description

The ARTC response to the derailment on 11 September 2013 was ineffective and did not prevent a similar derailment at the same location on 30 October.


Proactive Action

Action number: RO-2013-024-NSA XX
Action organisation: Australian Rail Track Corporation
Date: 13 January 2016
Action status: Closed

ARTC provided a summary of its investigations into the 11 September and 30 October derailments indicating that findings were similar to those of the ATSB investigation.

However, the response did not include safety actions to address this safety issue.

ATSB comment:

This safety issue pertains to the response by ARTC to the derailment on 11 September 2013. Post-derailment response includes both the initial investigative activity and the physical task of restoring track to a condition suitable for train operations. At the incident site, there was sufficient evidence immediately available to conclude that wide gauge was probably the primary cause of the derailment, but insufficient action was taken to rectify the track condition.

An appropriate safety action in response to this issue would be to examine the immediate investigative response to such incidents including the relationship and communication between the investigation team and those responsible for track restoration.


Action number: RO-2013-026-SR-101
Action organisation: Australian Rail Track Corporation
Date: 13 January 2016
Action status: Closed

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that ARTC takes safety action to enhance the effectiveness of its response to a derailment event to prevent a similar incident. 

Additional correspondence

Response date: 27 April 2016
Response from: Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC)
Action status: Closed
Response text:

Since the Newport derailment, ARTC has undertaken the following safety actions to address this safety issue:

  • A new position ‘Area Safety Advisor’ has been created and is located in Melbourne. This position will assist in the investigation of events in Melbourne and supplements other similar positions located in Adelaide and Newcastle.
  • Track management tasks and roles have been clarified. This includes more clearly defined responsibilities for the investigation of a derailment, the production of findings and management responsibilities for ensuring a derailment site is adequately repaired such that a repeat occurrence does not occur.
  • The introduction of a new system to track and review all incidents, improving the robustness of this process compared to that in place prior to the Newport derailment.
Last update 19 October 2016