Rail safety investigations & reports

Signal passed at danger of passenger train NP43, Gunnedah, NSW, on 10 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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[Download  PDF: 189KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 410KB]

What happened

On 10 June 2019, the driver of Xplorer service NP43 was operating a passenger service between Werris Creek and Moree. Shortly after departing Gunnedah, the driver passed signal GH19 at Caution and continued at track speed of 115km/hr, unaware that signal GH23 was at Stop. The position of the sun likely reduced the driver’s ability to sight signals GH19 and GH23 from a safe distance. When the driver did sight signal GH23 at Stop, there was insufficient distance to stop prior to points 55. NP43 traversed points 55 in excess of the maximum track speed of 50km/hr for the points. The train, travelling at approximately 110km/hr, came to a stop approximately 400m into the Whitehaven Coal Loop.

When NP43 entered the coal loop three people were injured, a passenger and a member of crew were struck by flying objects, and a crew member was thrown from their seat striking their head.

What the ATSB found

It was found that the driver of NP43 was not aware signal GH23 was at Stop, in order to protect an Up movement at Emerald Hill. The driver passed signal GH19 without sighting the signal and the position of the sun likely affected the driver’s visibility of signal GH23. There was insufficient stopping distance prior to points 55 once the driver sighted signal GH23.

Safety message

Drivers are reminded of the importance of operating to the current conditions, but also with consideration to potential future conditions. If safe sighting distance is reduced due to environmental factors, it is important to reduce speed and be prepared to stop.

Download final report
[Download  PDF: 189KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 410KB]

The occurrence

General details
Date: 10 June 2019   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1746 AEST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Gunnedah   Investigation phase: Final report: Dissemination  
State: New South Wales    
Release date: 27 September 2019   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Train details

Train details
Line operator Australian Railtrack Corporation  
Train operator NSW Trains  
Train registration NP43  
Type of operation Passenger service  
Sector Passenger - regional  
Damage to train Nil  
Departure point Werris Creek, NSW  
Destination Moree, NSW  
Last update 30 November 2020