Rail safety issues and actions

Special locations

Issue number: RO-2014-014-SI-02
Who it affects: All rail track managers
Issue owner: Genesee & Wyoming Australia
Transport function: Rail: Freight
Background: Investigation Report RO-2014-014
Issue release date: 28 October 2015
Current issue status: Safety action pending

Safety issue description

Contrary to the requirements of procedure IN-PRC-020, GWA had not established a list of specific locations known to have an increased likelihood of failure, such that particular attention may be applied in those locations during inspections.

Response to safety issue taken by Genesee & Wyoming Australia (GWA) GWA advised:

… a risk was added to the GWA Operational Risk Register following receipt of the incident investigation report GWA commissioned into the derailment (Marryat – 6DA2). While this risk, along with a number of others associated with conditions such as high temperatures and flooding could not be considered registers of special or hazard locations, they do demonstrate that the organisation has established processes which identify and document these types of risks as well as the measures that have been implemented for their treatment.


GWA will nevertheless convene a meeting of its track managers and inspectoral staff to consider whether establishing a register of special locations will provide any benefit relative to managing the asset.

ATSB comment in response

The ATSB acknowledges that GWA has systems in place to manage operational risk. However, it is evident that GWA do not maintain a ‘… list of specific locations requiring particular attention during inspections’, as required by GWA procedure IN-PRC-020.

The ATSB considers that reliance on the local knowledge of GWA staff and the absence of records documenting special locations, may have reduced the effectiveness of GWA’s inspection and maintenance task in areas where historical experience suggested an increased likelihood of failure. Therefore, the ATSB issues the following safety recommendation.


Action number: RO-2014-014-SR-034
Action organisation: Genesee & Wyoming Australia
Date: 28 October 2015
Action status: Released

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that Genesee & Wyoming Australia undertake further work to address the identification, assessment, and recording of special locations on the GWA rail network.

Last update 28 October 2015