Rail safety investigations & reports

Derailment of freight train 2224 at Exeter, NSW on 24 January 2010

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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At about 1856 on 24 January 2010 a loaded freight train designated 2224, travelling from Medway Junction to Berrima Junction, derailed one bogie on the second-last wagon at Exeter, NSW.

It was determined that wagon NPZH 35700U derailed due to a 'screwed journal' as a result of a wheel bearing failure. As the bearing failed, it generated and transmitted sufficient heat to the axle journal, to make it 'plastic' and allow the end carrying the failed roller bearing assembly to 'screw off'.

There was insufficient evidence to determine the cause of the bearing failure.

The investigation identified two safety issues in relation to:

  • the in-service condition monitoring of the wheel bearing which was ineffective in detecting the failing bearing before it led to the derailment, and,
  • bulk hopper wagons loaded with limestone which have been regularly operated at speeds up to 15 km/h higher than the mandated limit for some classes of track.

In both cases the train operator has taken safety action to address the issue.

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Alternate: [Download  DOC: 3.35MB]


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Safety Issues

Go to RO-2010-001-SI-01 - Go to RO-2010-001-SI-02 -

Bearing condition monitoring

The wheel bearings on train 2224, consist BT22, were only being monitored in-service by periodic inspections, roll-bys, and hot box detections. These measures were ineffective in detecting the failure of the bearing on train 2224 before it led to the derailment.

Safety issue details
Issue number: RO-2010-001-SI-01
Who it affects: All rolling stock operators
Status: Adequately addressed

Train handling

All limestone bulk hopper wagons have been operated up to 15 km/h higher than speeds specified in the Train Operating Conditions Manual, when loaded above 92 t and operated on class 1 or 1C track.

Safety issue details
Issue number: RO-2010-001-SI-02
Who it affects: All rolling stock operators
Status: Adequately addressed
General details
Date: 24 January 2010   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2010 EDT   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Exeter    
State: New South Wales    
Release date: 04 July 2011   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Train details

Train details
Train registration Train 2224  
Type of operation Bulk Freight  
Damage to train Minor  
Departure point Medway Junction, NSW  
Destination Berrima, NSW  
Last update 03 April 2020