Preliminary report published 21 November 2019
On 22 September 2019, an empty bauxite train was travelling the 19.5-km route between Lorim Point and Andoom, near Weipa, Queensland. At the 17.5 km mark, travelling at 64 km/h, the driver made a service brake application to slow the train for the 25-km/h turnout on the approach to Andoom, however, the brake application did not slow the train. In response, the driver released the brake, applied the dynamic brake on the locomotive, and again attempted to apply a service brake application.
Recognising the train was not slowing enough for the turnout, the driver made an emergency brake application, which was not effective. At 59 km/h, the driver applied the locomotive independent brake as a means to slow the train. As the independent brake only applies on the locomotive, there was only a slight decrease in train speed.
The train passed through the turnout at 54 km/h. At the time, a rake of wagons was being loaded at the automated loading point at Andoom, 635 m from the turnout. The driver was aware that a train collision was imminent but was unable to prevent it. During this period, the driver contacted the control communication centre by radio and advised them of the circumstances.
At 37 km/h, the train collided with the partially loaded rake of wagons. The locomotive of the moving train, and four empty wagons at the rear of the partially loaded rake, derailed on impact. The collision resulted in the modular driver operating cab separating from the main structure of the locomotive, coming to rest on the ground (Figure 1 and Figure 2). The cab sustained substantial damage. The driver was initially trapped inside the cab but sustained only minor injuries.
Locomotive R1006 with its detached and damaged modular operating cab resting inverted to the right of the locomotive. Empty wagons shown are from the rake of wagons the train collided with.
Source Rio Tinto.
Detached and damaged modular operating cab from locomotive R1006.
Source: Rio Tinto.
To date, the ATSB has:
- interviewed the train driver and witnesses
- conducted preliminary analysis of data from the locomotive’s event recorder
- obtained the securing components of the modular operating cab.
The ATSB investigation is continuing and will examine:
- analysis and testing the crashworthiness of the modular operating cab
- factors associated with the braking on the train
- further analysis of the event recorder
- policies, procedures and guidelines relating to Rio Tinto rail operations at Weipa.
The information contained in this preliminary report is released in accordance with section 25 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and is derived from the initial investigation of the occurrence. Readers are cautioned that new evidence will become available as the investigation progresses that will enhance the ATSB's understanding of the accident as outlined in this preliminary report. As such, no analysis or findings are included.
|Date:||22 September 2019||Investigation status:||Active|
|Time:||0930 EST||Investigation level:||Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||Andoom (near Weipa)||Investigation phase:||Evidence collection|
|Release date:||21 November 2019||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Report status:||Preliminary||Highest injury level:||Minor|
|Line operator||Rio Tinto|
|Train operator||Rio Tinto|
|Train registration||Locomotive R1006|
|Type of operation||Bulk minerals|
|Damage to train||Substantial|
|Departure point||Lorim Point, Queensland|