Safety, Standards & Regulation, Workforce, Certification & Training

ATSB investigates Westwood rail tragedy

An incident involving a light engine and a coal train led to the death of one worker and injuries to two others.

A CRASH involving a light engine and a coal train at Westwood, Queensland, is being investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

As was reported by Rail Express, the incident, which occurred on 18 June, claimed the life of one of the occupants of the light engine. The light engine, a diesel locomotive with no other rolling stock attached, was being used by Queensland Rail for driver tuition.

There was a tutor driver and two other drivers on board, and the light engine was being operated westbound with the long end leading (that is, in the reverse direction of normal operation).

The coal train was operated by Aurizon and was stationary at the Westwood loop, 45km from Rockhampton).

Just before 11.30am local time, the light engine struck the stationary coal train.

The light engine and five wagons of the coal train were significantly damaged.

Of the light engine’s three occupants, one sustained minor injuries, one was seriously injured and one was fatally injured. The two drivers of the coal train were uninjured.

The ATSB sent three investigators to the site to examine the site and wreckage.

As part of the investigation, the ATSB will also interview the drivers and train controller, analyse recorded data from the light engine’s data logger and other sources, participate in a more detailed examination of the light engine and gather additional information.

A report will be published at the end of the investigation.

The ATSB is expected to notify relevant parties should safety actions be required.

Queensland Rail has already released a statement confirming it will cooperate with all investigations.

“We are deeply saddened and distressed by the incident and our priority is the welfare of our people and the families of the drivers involved,” said QR CEO Nick Easy last week.