Rail safety investigations & reports

Level crossing collision between freight train 2C74 and road-train truck Yarri Road, Parkeston, Western Australia, on 22 February 2021

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


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 912KB]

What happened

At about 1701 on 22 February 2021, a road-train truck drove into the path of a freight train at the Yarri Road level crossing in Parkeston, Western Australia. The train collided with the truck, resulting in the derailment of the train’s locomotive. The level crossing was fitted with active control devices encompassing railway crossing flashing signal assemblies, which were operational prior to the collision.

The locomotive and truck were substantially damaged in the collision, and the 2 drivers on board the train were seriously injured.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that the road-train truck driver engaged in tasks related to setting up the truck cabin while approaching the level crossing. This distracted their attention away from the road ahead and probably contributed to them not identifying the flashing lights (indicating the presence of a train) until it was too late to stop.

The level crossing design was consistent with the applicable Australian standard and provided sufficient opportunity for attentive drivers to identify the flashing light level crossing controls and stop. Due to the curved geometry of Yarri Road approaching the level crossing, drivers needed to look ahead and across the curve to see the crossing lights. Because of the effects of distraction, the truck driver was probably only looking at the section of road directly ahead of their vehicle and did not look at the crossing lights.

What has been done as a result

As a result of this accident, the road-train truck company (MLG Oz) implemented an awareness campaign and supporting processes prohibiting the presence of mobile phones and mobile phone cradles with the cabin of its vehicles. Additionally, in coordination with the rolling stock operator, Aurizon, MLG Oz has undertaken a joint exercise to understand the constraints both truck drivers and locomotive drivers face utilising level crossings on a daily basis.

The road owner, City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder has removed vegetation to improve sighting at the level crossing. Main Roads Western Australia are currently reviewing the speed zones along Yarri Road, with discussions held with the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder to consider extending the 60 km/h zone to incorporate the level crossing. Additionally, a feasibility study is planned to determine if active advance warning assemblies can be installed on the approaches to the level crossing.

Associated with the number of recent collisions and their potential consequences, the ATSB has commenced a safety study into level crossing collisions involving trains and heavy road vehicles in Australia.

Safety message

This incident highlights, for truck drivers (and other road users), the importance of completing preparatory set up of their cab prior to moving their road vehicle, or stopping their vehicle to undertake and complete these tasks. Distraction can significantly impair driving safety. Even though it may be possible to occasionally glance at the road ahead while engaged in another task, critical information from the broader road environment may not be effectively perceived and comprehended, particularly on curved road approaches to level crossings.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 912KB]

The investigation


The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has commenced a transport safety investigation into a level crossing collision on Monday afternoon 22 February 2021, at Yarri Road, Parkeston WA.

A road-train truck had driven into the path of freight train 2C74, resulting in collision and derailment of the train’s lead locomotive. Active level crossing equipment (flashing lights) were reported to be operating. The locomotive and truck were substantially damaged, with the two train crew sustaining serious injuries and the truck driver sustaining minor injuries.

As part of the investigation, ATSB transport safety investigators will examine imagery of the accident site, analyse available recorded data, and interview involved parties.

A report will be published at the conclusion of the investigation. However, should any critical safety issues be identified at any stage during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate safety action can be taken.

General details
Date: 22 February 2021   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1701 WST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Parkeston   Investigation phase: Final report: Dissemination  
State: Western Australia    
Release date: 05 April 2022   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Train details

Train details
Line operator ARTC  
Train operator Aurizon  
Train registration 2C74  
Type of operation Freight  
Sector Freight  
Damage to train Substantial  
Departure point Parkeston, Western Australia  
Destination Kalgoorlie, Western Australia  
Last update 05 April 2022