Floodwater detected on tracks before train derailed

November 25, 2022 6:07 am in by

An interim report has found the driver of a train that derailed south of Gympie during flooding earlier this year had no warning, despite water being detected on the track.

The train sustained substantial damage and its driver suffered minor injuries, when the two locomotives and four wagons came off the track at Traveston on February 23.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has provided an interim report from its ongoing investigation, detailing the evidence collected so far.

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It notes a remote weather monitoring station, located about 200m ahead of the derailment site, detected floodwaters had overtopped the track about 40 minutes before the train entered the area.

“While the remote monitoring station transmitted this information to the Queensland Rail asset management protection system, no warning or critical alarm messages were provided to the network control officer, or other relevant operational staff,” ATSB Director Transport Safety Dr Michael Walker says.

“This meant the network control officer and train driver were not alerted that floodwater had overtopped the track ahead of the train.”

With the Traveston interim report published, investigators will review and examine Queensland Rail’s integrated asset management protection system, and arrangements for the distribution of weather-related warning and alarm messages generated by the system.

“We will also be looking at procedures in place for the identification and management of a potential hazard from a weather event, and for response to warning and alarm messages,” Dr Walker said.

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Procedures and training for drivers will be reviewed, both in terms of identifying and managing weather events, and egressing from a locomotive cab in an emergency.

“Investigators will also look into the training provided to network control staff and the maintenance inspections of cross track drainage systems at Traveston,” Dr Walker says.

In addition to evidence gathered, the interim report details some safety actions already taken by Queensland Rail after the derailment.

“While the ATSB will reserve its findings, and any safety issues and recommendations, for its final report, we welcome the safety action taken so far by the network operator.”