Rail safety investigations & reports

Derailment of Cairns Tilt Train VCQ5, Berajondo, Qld, 15 November 2004

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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This is an interim report, into the derailment of Queensland Rail's diesel tilt train and is based on information that has been gathered during the initial stages of the joint independent accident investigation being undertaken under the chairmanship of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) in conjunction with Queensland Transport (QT). The investigation is being conducted under the Queensland Transport Infrastructure Act 1994 (as amended), herein after referred to as The Act.

The ATSB was formed in July 1999 and is an operationally independent body within the Australian Government Department of Transport and Regional Services. The bureau is entirely separate from transport regulators and service providers.

Rail safety in Queensland is regulated by QT. All railway managers and/or railway operators within Queensland are required to be accredited in accordance with The Act. QT's role in rail safety also includes investigation of transport accidents and other safety occurrences.

Upon completion of the accident investigation a final report will be published that could possibly amend some of the information contained in this interim report.

Queensland Rail (QR) is the principal manager/operator of rail transport services in Queensland. As part of its regular passenger services QR operates two high speed diesel tilt trains on the North Coast Line between Brisbane and Cairns, the 'Spirit of Cairns' and the 'Spirit of Townsville' over a distance of 1,655km with a scheduled journey time of approximately 24hr 55min.

At 2355 Eastern Standard Time on 15 November 2004 the 'Spirit of Townsville', VCQ5, a 'down movement', derailed 419.493km from Brisbane (Roma Street), north of Berajondo on the Bundaberg to Gladstone line. The lead power car, No. 5403 and all remaining seven trailer cars derailed. The trailing power car No. 5404 was the only unit to remain substantially upright although the leading bogie set (in direction of travel) was partially derailed.

There were 157 passengers and crew on board the train. No one was fatally injured; however, there were some significant injuries.

Download Final Report from Queensland Transport.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 820KB]
General details
Date: 15 November 2004   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2355    
Location: Berajondo    
State: Queensland    
Release date: 16 October 2005   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  
Last update 29 May 2014