Rail safety investigations & reports

Overrun of authority involving train 6MP5 at Blamey, WA on 14 July 2013

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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What happened

At about 2121 on 14 July 2013, Pacific National intermodal freight train 6MP5 overran the limit of its authority at Blamey, Western Australia. The train travelled 23 km into the Blamey to Curtin section before the crew realised the overrun had occurred and stopped the train.

The crew did not immediately report the overrun to the Network Control Officer as required. Instead, they provided misleading information about the train’s location and that they were having problems with the on board communication systems. Unaware of the authority overrun, the Network Control Officer issued a Train Authority for train 6MP5 to proceed from Blamey to Parkeston.

The train crew signed off duty at Parkeston and after reflecting on their actions reported the occurrence to the Pacific National Kalgoorlie Depot Manager the following day.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that during the safety critical period approaching the limit of authority at Blamey, the train crew had focused their attention on planning for the upcoming refuelling at Parkeston. As a result, they were distracted from the primary task of driving the train and missed vital cues and information that identified the limit of the current train authority.

The investigation also found that there were inconsistencies in the instructions contained in the various Pacific National procedural documents relating to refuelling at Parkeston.

What's been done as a result

Pacific National has amended procedures related to the arrangements for refuelling trains at Parkeston to remove inconsistencies and ensure that ancillary tasks do not have the potential to distract train crews from undertaking safety critical work.

Safety message

Train crews must be cognisant of and apply the operational procedures intended to prevent or control the consequence that may arise from an overrun of authority.

Rail transport operators should ensure that any ancillary tasks undertaken by a train crew do not have the potential to divert attention away from the safe operation of a train.


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 414KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 514KB]

Safety Issue

Go to RO-2013-019-SI-01 -

Inconsistency in defining responsibilities for the refuelling of locomotives

The instructions relating to the arranging of refuelling at Parkeston contained in the Pacific National train management plan and the intermodal procedures manual were inconsistent.

Safety issue details
Issue number: RO-2013-019-SI-01
Who it affects: All rail safety workers and rolling stock operators
Status: Adequately addressed
General details
Date: 14 July 2013   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2121 WST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Blamey    
State: Western Australia    
Release date: 07 July 2014   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Train details

Train details
Line operator Aust Rail Track Corp.  
Train operator Pacific National  
Train registration 6MP5  
Type of operation Interstate intermodal freight  
Damage to train Nil  
Departure point Cook, SA  
Destination Parkeston, WA  
Last update 03 April 2020