Report released into train collision at Kooragang Island in 2020

A train collision at the Port of Newcastle in 2020 has been ruled to be the result of low light and communication failures.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau handed down its report following an investigation into the incident where a loaded coal train collided with the rear of a second, stationary train at Kooragang Coal Terminal.

At about 5am on July 29 a loaded Pacific National coal train collided at 16km/hr with the rear of a stationary One Rail Australia coal train when arriving at Kooragang.

The Pacific National locomotive and the two rearmost wagons of the other train derailed in the collision, and came into contact with two adjacent stationary trains, which sustained minor damage.

One of the Pacific National drivers sustained minor injuries, and there was substantial damage to the rail infrastructure.

The investigation found the One Rail train had stopped due to technical issues and failed to notify train control. Poor lighting also contributed to the incident; there was poor lighting trackside and the stationary train didn’t have its rear light working either.

Since the incident there have been safety actions implemented including Pacific National drivers being told they can’t exceed 8km/hr upon receiving a shunt proceed signal within the Kooragang terminal.

Image credit: ATSB