Rail safety issues and actions

Rail head wear

Issue number: RO-2013-026-SI-04
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:

Improved asset management policy and planning, combined with local verification of rail wear, should reduce the likelihood of rail wear exceeding condemning limits.

Safety issue description

ARTC processes for managing the condition of the rail were ineffective despite repeated recording of rail head wear by the AK Car, and local knowledge of the worn rail. The rail was worn beyond the rail condemning limits specified within the network code of practice.

Proactive Action

Action number: RO-2013-026-NSA-102
Action organisation: Australian Rail Track Corporation
Date: 13 January 2016
Action status: Closed

ARTC advised that on 1 December 2014 it introduced a more structured Asset Management Policy supported by an Annual Works Program that fits within a 10 year Asset Management Plan.

ARTC advised that this new plan includes the annual analysis of rail wear as recorded by the AK Car. Based on further monitoring and predicted rates of deterioration, a 20 year program for rail replacement is developed. The plan for replacement is reviewed each year to validate rail condition and the required time for replacement.

ARTC further advised that this updated rail replacement planning process is supported by on-site verification. 

ATSB comment:

ATSB is satisfied that effective implementation of this policy and plan will address the safety issue.

Last update 19 October 2016