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Preliminary report released into the runaway and derailment of a freight train in Devonport, Tasmania

The ATSB’s has released its preliminary report into the runaway and derailment of a freight train in Devonport, Tasmania on 21 September 2018. The investigation is continuing.

Derailment of a freight train in Devonport, Tasmania on 21 September 2018

Investigators have found that the train derailed after it rolled away from a loading facility at Railton following its non-response to a series of remote commands.

The ATSB has determined that during loading, the last two wagons of the TasRail freight train were misaligned with the concrete loading chutes. To realign the train, the driver selected reverse on the remote control.

The train was unresponsive. The driver tried multiple times to reset the remote control equipment locally. Shortly after the driver decided to walk to the lead locomotive to do a cold restart at the rear of the locomotive, the train began to roll slowly towards Devonport.

The train did not respond to remote emergency stop commands through the removal of power to the transmitter and gradually gained speed as it rolled away from the loading facility at Railton. The driver alerted TasRail Train Control and the train was routed to a dead-end siding at Devonport.

The train collided with a concrete footing and fence at the end of the siding.  Two pedestrians received minor injuries from fence debris. The locomotive and eight wagons were significantly damaged.

Executive Director, Transport Safety Nay Nagy said ATSB investigators had interviewed a number of witnesses and collected relevant documentation about the train, the remote control system and the train network. 

“Investigators will now look at the design, serviceability and management of the locomotive, wagons, remote control system and the interface between them at the time of the accident and overall systems compatibility.

“Recovery controls such as runaway protection, emergency response systems and the detection of unauthorised train access will also be examined,” Mr Nagy said.

The investigation is expected to be completed in the second half of next year.

Read the report RO-2018-014: Runaway and derailment of TasRail freight train in Devonport, Tasmania on 21 September 2018

 
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Last update 16 November 2018