Rail safety investigations & reports

Near miss between train crew and passing train 2291N, Picton, NSW, on 19 November 2019

Investigation number:
RO-2019-021
Status: Discontinued

Discontinuation notice

Discontinuation notice

Section 21 (2) of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 (TSI Act) empowers the ATSB to discontinue an investigation into a transport safety matter at any time. Section 21 (3) of the TSI Act requires the ATSB to publish a statement setting out the reasons for discontinuing an investigation. The statement is published as a report in accordance with section 25 of the TSI Act, capturing information from the investigation up to the time of discontinuance.

Overview of the investigation

At 0347 (Australian Eastern Daylight time – AEDT) on Tuesday 19 November 2019, at Picton NSW, the driver of a Qube freight train 3112 was checking on a report of a wheel defect on the fifth axle of the third locomotive in the train consist.

The possible defect was previously detected by the trackside inspection system at Exeter and the driver stopped 3112 at Burradoo to safely inspect the train. No defect was found.

The driver subsequently stopped the train on the mainline at Picton and disembarked in order to conduct a second inspection of the train. A Pacific National freight train passing on the adjacent line came within two metres of the driver of 3112.

ATSB’s preliminary evidence collection revealed:

  • The detection of the potential wheel defect was made by the appropriate wayside detection equipment and was notified correctly to the train crew.
  • The driver initially followed process and safely inspected the locomotive at Burradoo with no defect being found and continued the journey.
  • The driver took advantage of a routine stop at Picton to re-inspect the locomotive on the safe side of the train (i.e. the side of the train away from the opposing main line) and found a minor wheel defect.
  • The driver then made a decision to inspect the locomotive wheels from the other side of the train, next to the opposing main line, without seeking track protection, when the Pacific National freight train approached his location, leading to the near miss.
  • The driver acknowledged the decision was an individual action.
  • The driver of the Qube train was standing next to the train and took evasive action by holding onto the handrails of the locomotive ladder to avoid being struck by the Pacific National train.

ATSB comment 

Given the acknowledged individual action taken by the driver of the Qube train 3112, and based on a review of the available evidence, the ATSB considered it was unlikely that further investigation would identify any systemic safety issues. Consequently, the ATSB has discontinued this investigation.

General details
Date: 19 November 2019   Investigation status: Discontinued  
Time: 0347 EDST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Picton    
State: New South Wales    
Release date: 21 May 2020   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Discontinued   Highest injury level: None  
Anticipated completion: 2nd Quarter 2020    

Train details

Train details
Line operator ARTC  
Train operator Qube Logistics  
Train registration 3112  
Type of operation Freight train  
Sector Freight  
Damage to train Nil  
Departure point Junee, NSW  
Destination Cooks River, NSW  
Last update 26 May 2020