Rail safety investigations & reports

Derailment of Sydney Trains Passenger Train 602M near Edgecliff station, Sydney, NSW on 15 January 2014

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

Download Final report
[Download  PDF: 4.26MB]

What happened

At about 1654 on 15 January 2014, a Sydney Trains service made up of two four-carriage Tangara electric multiple units, entered the underground section of the Eastern Suburbs Line under Sydney city centre heading towards its destination, Bondi Junction. Some smoke and a burning smell were apparent emanating from the train at Central station and at all subsequent stations to Bondi Junction. A number of station and train crewing staff were aware of this but the condition was not reported to the appropriate network control officer as required under Sydney Trains’ Network Rules and Procedures.

The train terminated at Bondi Junction where a different driver took control of the train before it departed on its return journey. It then travelled to the next station, Edgecliff. Shortly after departure from Edgecliff, at 1726, the lead bogie of the third carriage derailed due to a broken axle on the leading bogie of the third carriage. A piece of angle iron that became dislodged from the track infrastructure penetrated the floor of the third carriage and entered a space occupied by passengers.

Motor resting on rail head

Motor resting on rail head


Source: Office of Transport Safety Investigations (OTSI)

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that an unauthorised, non-standard repair had been carried out on the axle in December 1998 or January 1999 which introduced stress initiators, causing a crack to develop which over time propagated to the extent that the axle failed in service.

It was also determined that a number of organisational factors contributed to the incident with examples of poor communication and lack of adherence to procedures and reporting lines leading to the train continuing in service and subsequently derailing.

What has been done as a result

Sydney Trains and their maintenance contractors undertook an archival document search and determined that seven axles, including the failed axle, had been repaired in the same way. All were immediately removed from service.

Sydney Trains, after conducting its own investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, produced a number of safety recommendations which the organisation is considering through its own Safety Action Management procedures.

Safety message

Rail operators should ensure that maintenance procedures are followed and that non-standard repairs comply strictly with an approved variation and do not introduce new risks to operations.

Also, rail operators should review their internal training and communication pathways both within and between business units / operational areas to ensure that critical communication can occur in line with best current Rail Resource Management principle.

Download Final report
[Download  PDF: 4.26MB]

The occurrence


Safety analysis


Safety issues and actions

Sources and submissions



To download, click the link, then right-click and select Save As.

Copyright in material obtained from other agencies, private individuals or organisations, belongs to those agencies, individuals or organisations and should be credited accordingly.

Safety Issues

Go to RO-2014-001-SI-01 - Go to RO-2014-001-SI-02 - Go to RO-2014-001-NSA-025 - Go to RO-2014-001-SI-04 -

Wheel slip protection indicator light

Drivers are desensitised to the wheel slip protection indicator light activations through its regular activation in response to momentary losses of adhesion. This, coupled with the inadequate warning provided by the TMS, may result in delayed reaction in response to activations that need driver intervention.

Safety issue details
Issue number: RO-2014-001-SI-01
Who it affects: Sydney Trains
Status: Safety action pending

Reporting and Verbal Communications

Reporting and communications were not carried out in accordance with Sydney Trains rules and procedures, so that key employees in the Rail Management Centre received delayed and/or partial information and allowed the train to continue in service.

Safety issue details
Issue number: RO-2014-001-SI-02
Who it affects: Sydney Trains
Status: Safety action pending

Rail Resource Management

Key staff had not been trained in Rail Resource Management. 

Safety issue details
Issue number: RO-2014-001-NSA-025
Who it affects: Sydney Trains
Status: Safety action pending

Incident Rail Commander Role

The lack of an appointed Officer in Charge of the incident site prior to the arrival of an Incident Rail Commander led to a fragmented response with no single employee having a recognised leadership role on site. 

Safety issue details
Issue number: RO-2014-001-SI-04
Who it affects: Sydney Trains
Status: Safety action pending
General details
Date: 15 January 2014   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1715 EDT   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Edgecliff    
State: New South Wales    
Release date: 03 December 2015   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Train details

Train details
Line operator Sydney Trains  
Train operator Sydney Trains  
Train registration 602M  
Type of operation Passenger  
Sector Passenger - metropolitan  
Damage to train Serious  
Departure point Bondi Junction, NSW  
Destination Cronulla, NSW  
Last update 03 April 2020