Rail safety investigations & reports

Rolling stock irregularity on train 3YN2 near Kiacatoo, New South Wales, on 6 January 2021

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


Download Final report
[Download  PDF: 984KB]

What happened

On 6 January 2021, loaded Pacific National freight train 3YN2 was operating between Broken Hill and Newcastle, New South Wales.

Just before 0914, a contractor working near the rail line, noticed a wagon on train 3YN2 was dragging on the rail. This was reported to representatives from the rail infrastructure manager and the crew of 3YN2 were directed to stop their train.

The train stopped between Euabalong West and Kiacatoo with a crack found through the underframe of the 32nd wagon. The air tank was resting on the rail and it was later found that three level crossings had been struck by the wagon. There was superficial damage at the level crossings and no reported injuries. 

What the ATSB found

Train 3YN2 departed Broken Hill with an existing crack in the underframe of wagon NDHX14836G. This crack progressed during the journey with the underframe of the wagon striking three level crossings.

The underframe of NDHX14836G likely fractured due to a fatigue crack at a weld on the lower edge of the sill. This defect was likely detectable for a period of time prior to the occurrence.

The train had undergone the required maintenance inspections however these were not sufficient to identify the cracking at a location of known risk prior to the structural failure.

What has been done as a result

Following the occurrence Pacific National released a rolling stock safety notice detailing the failure and requiring an inspection of all affected wagons within the class wagon.

Pacific National advised the following actions have been planned to prevent recurrence:

  • Develop a lifecycle asset management strategy for affected class of wagons (NDHX/ICX) with a butt weld.
  • Complete a risk assessment to assess the limitations of NDHX wagons and requirements for ongoing use.
  • Review the wagon maintenance manual associated with the inspection of the wagon underframe to include details for ICX class wagons.
  • Review and adjust the current non-destructive strategy applied across Pacific National's fleet of wagons.

Safety message

The incident highlights the importance of managing ageing assets to ensure continued safe operation through the lifecycle of the asset. Rolling stock operators should ensure that their maintenance and inspection regimes effectively monitor and detect conditions that might escalate and contribute to accidents.

Download Final report
[Download  PDF: 984KB]

The investigation

General details
Date: 06 January 2021   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0915 AEDT   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Kiacatoo   Investigation phase: Final report: Dissemination  
State: New South Wales    
Release date: 28 June 2021   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Train details

Train details
Line operator Australian Rail Track Corporation  
Train operator Pacific National  
Train registration 3YN2  
Type of operation Freight train  
Sector Freight  
Damage to train Substantial  
Departure point Broken Hill, New South Wales  
Destination Newcastle, New South Wales  
Last update 28 June 2021