Rail safety investigations & reports

Derailment of train 331 near Lowdina, Tasmania on 9 April 2013

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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What happened

At about 2119 on 9 April 2013, freight train 331 derailed while travelling between Burnie and Boyer in Tasmania. The train travelled for about 2.5 km while derailed and came to a stop at Lowdina, about 48 km north of Hobart.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB investigation found that a large twist defect in the track near Lowdina caused the leading wheelset of the third wagon’s trailing bogie to unload and derail.

The investigation further found that it is likely that a previously undetected, small to medium sized twist defect, either at or near the derailment site, developed under the passage of train 331.

What's been done as a result

Prior to this incident, the network owner/manager (TasRail) had identified the need to renew the track infrastructure in the area of the derailment and anticipates that the track between Colebrook and Campania should be renewed by June 2014.

Safety message

Early detection and conscientious management of track defects is critical in maintaining safe rail operations.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 1.9MB]


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Safety Issues

Go to RO-2013-012-SI-01 - Go to RO-2013-012-SI-02 - Go to RO-2013-012-SI-03 -

Twist defect detection

The twist defect was not detected by TasRail’s inspection/monitoring systems, increasing the risk of derailment.

Safety issue details
Issue number: RO-2013-012-SI-01
Who it affects: TasRail
Status: Adequately addressed

Elevated risk controls

TasRail had not instigated proactive action to manage the elevated risks associated with ongoing track stability issues at, or near, the derailment site in accordance with their maintenance procedures.

Safety issue details
Issue number: RO-2013-012-SI-02
Who it affects: TasRail
Status: Adequately addressed

Track inspection intervals

Track inspections were not consistently conducted at intervals of not more than 96 hours, in accordance with TasRail’s standard.

Safety issue details
Issue number: RO-2013-012-SI-03
Who it affects: TasRail
Status: Adequately addressed
General details
Date: 09 April 2013   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2125 EST   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Lowdina    
State: Tasmania    
Release date: 15 October 2013   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Train details

Train details
Train registration 331  
Type of operation Freight  
Damage to train Serious  
Departure point Burnie, Tas.  
Destination Boyer, Tas.  
Last update 14 November 2018