Rail safety investigations & reports

Derailment of freight train 7MC1 at Wallan, Victoria on 4 November 2017

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed
Phase: Final report: Dissemination Read more information on this investigation phase

Final Report

Download final report
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What happened

At 1523 on Saturday 4 November 2017, Qube Logistics freight train 7MC1 was signalled into the crossing loop at Wallan, Victoria. Entering the loop from the main line, the leading bogie on the 37th wagon derailed and travelled in a derailed state until the train stopped within the loop. At this stage, the locomotive crew were unaware of the derailment.

Following the passing of an opposing passenger service, and signals clearing, 7MC1 commenced its departure from the loop. Shortly after, a member of the public made the crew of 7MC1 aware that a wagon was derailed and the train was brought to a stand.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that the leading left-hand wheel of the leading bogie of wagon LQAY 00025D climbed the left-hand stock rail within the turnout from the crossing loop to the cripple track. The second wheelset of the same bogie derailed several hundred metres into the loop after the train commenced its departure from the loop.

It was found that the derailment occurred within a rapid transition of track superelevation from the main line to the loop track, resulting in the unloading of the leading left-hand wheel. The twist through the location exceeded network requirements and the basis for its acceptance was not documented.

In addition, the track alignment through the turnout to the cripple track probably resulted in the wheel tracking towards the left stock rail. The condition of some sleepers was also degraded resulting in a reduced effectiveness of rail fastenings.

The wagon and its loading was compliant with network requirements.

What's been done as a result

ARTC completed rectification works at the derailment location to address the identified twist exceedances. Works included improving track geometry, the installation of turnout bearers with resilient fastenings and mechanised tamping.

ARTC has also enhanced work management processes for the response to geometry conditions in accordance with ARTC’s Safety Management System.

Safety message

Effective management of track defects is critical to minimising the risk of derailment and maintaining safe rail operations.

Download final report
[Download  PDF: 3.1MB]

The occurrence


Safety analysis


Safety issues and actions

Sources and submissions

Safety Issue

Go to RO-2017-016-SI-01 -

Track defect management

ARTC allowed identified track twist defects to remain in track contrary to network track geometry requirements.

Safety issue details
Issue number: RO-2017-016-SI-01
Who it affects: Track Managers
Status: Adequately addressed
General details
Date: 04 November 2017   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1523 EDT   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Wallan   Investigation phase: Final report: Dissemination  
State: Victoria    
Release date: 06 March 2019   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Train details

Train details
Line operator Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC)  
Train operator Qube Logistics Rail Services  
Train registration 7MC1  
Type of operation Freight  
Sector Freight  
Damage to train Minor  
Departure point VicDock, Melbourne, Vic  
Destination Junee, Vic  
Last update 07 March 2019