Rail safety issues and actions

Special locations

Issue number: RO-2013-028-SI-01
Who it affects: All owners and operators of track infrastructure
Issue owner: Genesee and Wyoming Australia
Transport function: Rail: Infrastructure
Background: Investigation Report RO-2013-028
Issue release date: 17 February 2015
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB is satisfied that the actions taken by Genesee Wyoming Australia should address this safety issue.

Safety issue description

Union Reef was not treated as a special location as defined in the ARA Code of Practice for the Australian Rail Network.

Proactive Action

Action number: RO-2013-028-NSA-078
Action organisation: Genesee and Wyoming Australia
Date: 17 February 2015
Action status: Closed

Genesee Wyoming Australia has proposed the following key actions to address this safety issue.

  • Conduct line of sight inspections on approaches to yards between Alice Springs and Berrimah, with obstructions being removed.
  • Review the inspection and maintenance frequency of motorised self-restoring points machines.
  • Review the inspection and maintenance frequency of track/points associated with mining products and the response to the build-up of product.

The following additional commentary was provided:

With regard to GWA treating the location as a ‘special location’, it was determined from the internal investigation that from Jan 2011 through to Dec 2013 there had been approximately 1100 + scheduled movements (approx. one train per day into the crossing loop from the northern end) through the automated points that had operated from N>R>N>R>N for each ore train. During that same three year period, GWA recorded an actual total of 3 points ‘failures’ at the northern end of Union Reef which equated to an approximate Mean Time between Unscheduled Inspections (MTBUI) figure of 0.2% for the location. GWA would regard the treatment of a special location to be based upon the level of risk exposure from track conditions impacting on train safety or by incident trending data. In this case the infrastructure, under failure condition, operated correctly and displayed a red indication. The driver failed to respond to the indicated message.

With respect to the above dot points, GWA has conducted a review of the existing inspection and maintenance frequencies for points and track at loading locations as well as the efficacy of its reporting arrangements and found both to be acceptable. Having said this, GWA will continue to monitor the functioning of its infrastructure at loading locations with the intent of identifying any adverse trends and implementing preventative action.

GWA has completed a line of sight inspection on the approaches to all locations between Alice Springs and Berrimah and removed any identified obstructions.

ATSB comment:

The ATSB acknowledges and accepts Genesee Wyoming Australia’s assessment of automated points reliability at the Union Reef locations. Together with the maintenance review, line-of-sight inspections and ongoing monitoring of infrastructure at loading areas, the ATSB is satisfied that the safety issue has been adequately addressed.

Last update 25 February 2015