Investigation number
Occurrence date
Report release date
Report status
Investigation type
Occurrence Investigation
Investigation status
Occurrence category
Highest injury level

At 1303 on Wednesday 25 February 2004 an empty Endeavour
passenger train D743 was placed on a collision course with a
stationary loaded coal train LD166 at Sandgate. The crew of train
D743 realised that number 157 points were in the wrong position and
made an emergency brake application. Train D743 stopped about 75
metres short of train LD166.

Sandgate is located on the main northern railway corridor
between Sydney and Brisbane about 170 kilometres from Central
Railway Station, Sydney. The rail corridor contains four standard
gauge tracks for non electric powered trains.

Train D743 was a relief train from Newcastle provided to render
assistance to passenger train 604 which had broken down on the Up
Main line at Beresfield station platform. The following two
passenger trains 736 and 738 on the Up Main line were diverted to
the Up Coal Road at Thornton to bypass train 604. Trains 736 and
738 were diverted back onto the Up Main line at Sandgate through
number 157 points.

The wrong direction movement of train D743 via the Up Main line
was controlled by a Special Proceed Authority (SPA) issued by the
train controller at Broadmeadow and Yard Working authorised by the
signaller. Train movements in the Sandgate area are controlled by a
signaller located at Hanbury Junction signal box, 2.575 kilometres
southeast from Sandgate station. Normal signal protection
(unidirectional) could not be used for the wrong direction
movement. The movement was manually controlled by the signaller. In
addition to delayed trains and increased traffic movements, there
were a number of factors competing for the signaller's

The investigation concluded that the incident occurred because
the signaller did not check the intended route for train D743
thoroughly or apply blocking facilities to the greatest effect to
protect the route. Number 157 points were in the reverse position
after the passage of train 738. Blocking facilities are physical
devices used as memory aids for the signaller to prevent
inappropriate issue of Proceed Authorities, or signalling or point
equipment operation.