Rail safety investigations & reports

Derailment of freight train 6CM3 Junee, New South Wales, on 7 June 2019

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

Final Report

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What happened

On 7 June 2019, Pacific National (PN) were operating freight train 6CM3 between Griffith, New South Wales and Appleton Dock, Victoria.

The train arrived at the Junee Down Platform for a scheduled driver change. The relieved train crew performed a roll-by inspection when the train departed at 2159. During the roll-by inspection, the relieved train crew detected the 40th and 41st wagons had derailed and contacted the driver by radio to stop.

The derailment blocked the Olympic Highway level crossing at Junee and disrupted freight and passenger services. The Down Platform road required repairs and was unfit for use until 10 June 2019.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that the 40th and 41st wagons derailed at a broken rail near 119A points. The broken rail allowed wheels from 6CM3 to derail, damaging the wagons and infrastructure.

It was found that rails forming turnouts between main lines were not being ultrasonically tested following a change in maintenance practices. A likely detectable rail defect went undetected with the rail breaking in two places on two different occasions.

The crew performing the roll-by inspection detected the derailed wagons preventing the escalation of this occurrence.

What's been done as a result

The Australian Rail Track Corporation identified rails forming turnouts that were not previously subjected to ultrasonically testing and included these in the asset management register. Scheduled testing of these identified assets has been included in the ultrasonic testing contractor’s annual testing program.

Safety message

Rail infrastructure managers should ensure that inspection techniques effectively monitor and report on asset condition. Risk controls should also be continuously assessed to control risk to an acceptable level through the life cycle of the asset, in particular, when changes are made to inspection regimes.

Download final report
[Download  PDF: 1.5MB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 1.5MB]

The occurrence

General details
Date: 07 June 2019   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2200 AEST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Junee   Investigation phase: Final report: Dissemination  
State: New South Wales    
Release date: 12 June 2020   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Train details

Train details
Line operator Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC)  
Train operator Pacific National  
Train registration 6CM3  
Type of operation Container train (freight) service  
Sector Freight  
Damage to train Substantial  
Departure point Griffith, New South Wales  
Destination Appleton Dock, Victoria  
Last update 30 November 2020