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What happened

On Tuesday 9 December 2014, at about 0003 (EDT), the load on train 2MP9 struck a timber pylon of an over-rail bridge near Great Western, Victoria. The train was transporting a number of Maxitrans skeletal road trailers (in piggyback configuration). During the journey, one of the upper road trailers had shifted laterally by almost 2 m, striking the Paxton Street bridge as the train passed beneath. Authorities closed the bridge, assessed it for safety and cleared it for normal traffic some time later. After being alerted to the load shift and collision while stopped and waiting for a passing train, the rail operator made arrangements to remove the road trailer load. Train 2MP9 subsequently departed Great Western at 1205 and continued its journey to Perth.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that, based on recorded data from wayside monitoring systems and the condition of the wagon’s side bearers, it is likely that the wagon carrying the shifted load (PQMY4346V) was hunting. The hunting motion would be expected to increase the lateral forces on the load restraints. Compounding this, SCT’s freight loading procedures did not specifically provide for the effective restraint and securement of commercial road transport vehicles for transportation on rail vehicles. Terminal staff responsible for securing and checking the load were not fully aware of the load securement requirements documented in the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) Code of Practice for the Loading of Rail Freight.

What's been done as a result

SCT Logistics have issued a safety alert to all SCT managers and supervisors, reminding them of the freight loading Code of Practice requirements and instructing that only qualified and/or experienced staff are to perform the loading task.

SCT also addressed the mandatory replacement of wagon side bearers in accordance with the manufacturer’s service bulletin.

Safety message

A shifted load during rail vehicle transit represents a significant risk to infrastructure, railway employees, passengers, and the general public. In light of this occurrence, all rail freight operators should consider the safety implications of inadequate load restraint within their own operations - taking action where opportunities exist for improvement and compliance with requirements.


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The occurrence


Safety analysis


Safety actions

Sources and submissions


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General details
Date: 09 December 2014 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0023 EDT  
Location   (show map):227 km near Great Western Loop Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria Occurrence type: Loading Irregularity 
Release date: 26 April 2016  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Train details
Line operator: ARTC 
Train registration: 2MP9 
Type of operation: SCT 
Sector: Freight 
Damage to train: Minor 
Departure point:Melbourne, Vic
Destination:Perth, WA
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Last update 26 April 2016