Rail head wear
Date issue released
Safety Issue Description

ARTC processes for managing the condition of the rail were ineffective despite repeated recording of rail head wear by the AK Car, and local knowledge of the worn rail. The rail was worn beyond the rail condemning limits specified within the network code of practice.

Issue number
Transport Function
Rail: Infrastructure
Issue Owner
Australian Rail Track Corporation
Mode of Transport
Issue Status Justification

Improved asset management policy and planning, combined with local verification of rail wear, should reduce the likelihood of rail wear exceeding condemning limits.

Proactive action
Action number
Australian Rail Track Corporation
Action date
Action Status
Action description

ARTC advised that on 1 December 2014 it introduced a more structured Asset Management Policy supported by an Annual Works Program that fits within a 10 year Asset Management Plan.

ARTC advised that this new plan includes the annual analysis of rail wear as recorded by the AK Car. Based on further monitoring and predicted rates of deterioration, a 20 year program for rail replacement is developed. The plan for replacement is reviewed each year to validate rail condition and the required time for replacement.

ARTC further advised that this updated rail replacement planning process is supported by on-site verification. 

ATSB Response

ATSB is satisfied that effective implementation of this policy and plan will address the safety issue.