Rail safety investigations & reports

Runaway of freight train within the Whyalla Steelworks, South Australia, on 31 July 2019

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress


The ATSB is investigating a train runaway within the Liberty Primary Steel complex at Whyalla, South Australia, which occurred on 31 July 2019. 

At 0824, an empty iron ore train operated by Genesee & Wyoming Australia, while being prepared for departure from the rail yard, ran approximately 6 km through the steelworks without a driver on board, before it could be stopped and secured. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

As part of the investigation, the ATSB will review locomotive data logger information, obtain information about the remote control system used on the locomotive and interview the train driver and other rail operations personnel.

A final report will be released at the end of the investigation.

Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify those affected and seek safety action to address the issue.  

General details
Date: 31 July 2019   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 0824 CST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Whyalla   Investigation phase: Evidence collection  
State: South Australia    
  Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: None  
Anticipated completion: 3rd Quarter 2020    

Train details

Train details
Line operator GFG Alliance  
Train operator Genesee & Wyoming Australia  
Type of operation Bulk minerals  
Sector Freight  
Damage to train Nil  
Last update 02 August 2019