Train container collides with station verandah

Multiple factors combined to result in an incident in which a container on a freight train collided with station infrastructure.

Train container collides with station verandah

The ATSB’s investigation into the incident yielded important safety messages for rail infrastructure managers and maintainers, rail operators, and rail safety workers involved in the loading and examination of train services.

The incident occurred on 16 January 2018, as freight train 2BM9 passed through Maitland Railway Station at approximately 0748. The trailing edge of one of the containers on the train collided with the verandah gutter mounting brackets on Platform 1. Two lengths of the verandah gutter dropped to the surface of the platform. Although there were some people on the platform at the time, no one was in the immediate area of the collision, and no injuries were reported. 

The ATSB investigation found that, while the track owner had scheduled and undertaken clearance inspections at Maitland, these inspections had not detected that the increase in track height over time had reduced the available clearance and infringed on both the design measurements and track owner’s clearance specifications.

In addition to the increase in track height and clearance reduction, a loading irregularity on the train also existed at the time of the collision, where the container was not correctly secured to its wagon.

Ensure that processes and requirements are documented, understood, and adhered to.

The investigation found that the train operator had not documented its process for loading checks expected from the loading operations staff when securing containers to wagons.

The ATSB found these two elements combined to result in the collision between the freight train container and the verandah guttering at the Station.

This incident shows the importance of ensuring that processes and requirements are documented, understood, and adhered to.

Both the train operator and the rail infrastructure manager have taken proactive safety action to address the issues and reduce the likelihood of a recurrence.

Read the final report, RO-2018-003: Loading irregularity on train 2BM9 near Maitland, NSW on 16 January 2018

Last update 05 March 2019