THE Australian Transport Safety Bureau has issued a warning about the need for “robust load restraint” on freight trains.

This followed an incident in 2018 where a 16tonne steel coil fell from a Pacific National train near the small town of Winton in north-east Victoria.

After falling from the train, the coil struck and damaged tracks before coming to rest.

About 10 minutes later, the steel coil was struck by a V/Line passenger train.

Two V/Line staff suffered “minor injuries”, albeit their train did not derail.

The ATSB noted Pacific National had updated its freight loading manual requiring all coils to have a minimum of two radial and two circumferential unitising straps applied.

PN also drafted a revision to its wagon maintenance manual to include a part specific to inspection of jumbo coil cradles.

“Robust load restraint systems are required to protect against movement of loads during transport,” the ATSB stated.

“This is particularly important for significantly heavy loads, such as jumbo steel coils, as should they fall from the train they pose a significant risk to the safety of other rail vehicles and passengers.”

According to the ATSB, the system should also include assessments and documentation demonstrating that appropriate load cases, design requirements, operational and loading requirements have been met.