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.
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.
|Date:||19 November 2019||Investigation status:||Discontinued|
|Time:||0347 EDST||Investigation level:||Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|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 operator||Qube Logistics|
|Type of operation||Freight train|
|Damage to train||Nil|
|Departure point||Junee, NSW|
|Destination||Cooks River, NSW|