Rail safety investigations & reports

Load shift collision between train 2MP9 and road over rail bridge, 227 km near Great Western Loop, Victoria, 9 December 2014

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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What happened

On Tuesday 9 December 2014, at about 0003 (EDT), the load on train 2MP9 struck a timber pylon of an over-rail bridge near Great Western, Victoria. The train was transporting a number of Maxitrans skeletal road trailers (in piggyback configuration). During the journey, one of the upper road trailers had shifted laterally by almost 2 m, striking the Paxton Street bridge as the train passed beneath. Authorities closed the bridge, assessed it for safety and cleared it for normal traffic some time later. After being alerted to the load shift and collision while stopped and waiting for a passing train, the rail operator made arrangements to remove the road trailer load. Train 2MP9 subsequently departed Great Western at 1205 and continued its journey to Perth.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that, based on recorded data from wayside monitoring systems and the condition of the wagon’s side bearers, it is likely that the wagon carrying the shifted load (PQMY4346V) was hunting. The hunting motion would be expected to increase the lateral forces on the load restraints. Compounding this, SCT’s freight loading procedures did not specifically provide for the effective restraint and securement of commercial road transport vehicles for transportation on rail vehicles. Terminal staff responsible for securing and checking the load were not fully aware of the load securement requirements documented in the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) Code of Practice for the Loading of Rail Freight.

What's been done as a result

SCT Logistics have issued a safety alert to all SCT managers and supervisors, reminding them of the freight loading Code of Practice requirements and instructing that only qualified and/or experienced staff are to perform the loading task.

SCT also addressed the mandatory replacement of wagon side bearers in accordance with the manufacturer’s service bulletin.

Safety message

A shifted load during rail vehicle transit represents a significant risk to infrastructure, railway employees, passengers, and the general public. In light of this occurrence, all rail freight operators should consider the safety implications of inadequate load restraint within their own operations - taking action where opportunities exist for improvement and compliance with requirements.


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 2.16MB]

The occurrence


Safety analysis


Safety actions

Sources and submissions


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General details
Date: 09 December 2014   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0023 EDT   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 227 km near Great Western Loop    
State: Victoria    
Release date: 26 April 2016   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Train details

Train details
Line operator ARTC  
Train registration 2MP9  
Type of operation SCT  
Sector Freight  
Damage to train Minor  
Departure point Melbourne, Vic  
Destination Perth, WA  
Last update 14 November 2018