Rail safety investigations & reports

Derailment of Train 3MR2 near Roopena, South Australia on 22 May 2007

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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At approximately 0428 on 22 May 2007, ballast train 3MR2 derailed near Roopena, SA (between Whyalla and Port Augusta). The derailment occurred about 28 track kilometres north of Whyalla. Twenty seven ballast wagons were derailed but there were no injuries.

The investigation concluded that a number of factors combined to cause the derailment. A crosslevel track geometry defect caused body roll on the first wagon to derail which led to dynamic unloading of the wagon's leading, right-hand wheel. When combined with a horizontal and vertical alignment defect, wheel unloading increased further and the right-hand wheel moved into flange contact with the right-hand rail such that the risk of a flange-climb increased at the point of derailment. Non-compliant side bearer gaps, uneven load distribution and the wagon's sensitivity to spring compression length also combined to cause the front left-hand suspension springs to become fully compressed thereby increasing the amount of wheel unloading at the point of derailment.

All these factors combined to indicate that body roll, spring compression, train speed, wheel unloading and flange contact at the point of derailment were of sufficient magnitude that a flangeclimb derailment would be expected to occur. A range of safety actions were taken or recommended to seek to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Rail Safety Recommendations [ RR20080029 ] [ RR20080030 ]

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 742KB]
General details
Date: 22 May 2007   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0428 CST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location: Roopena    
State: South Australia    
Release date: 30 June 2008   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Train details

Train details
Train registration Train 3MR2  
Type of operation Ballast Train  
Damage to train Substantial  
Departure point Whyalla, NSW  
Departure time 0400  
Last update 03 April 2020