AN INCIDENT in Far North Queensland where a freight train “entered” floodwater has prompted a warning about having weather monitoring stations at key locations.

The incident occurred around 6am on 7 March, 2018, at Little Banyan Creek, near the sleepy town of Tully.

According to investigators, the train rounded the curve prior to the Little Banyan Creek rail bridge, which was under 60 centimetres of flowing water.

At 60 metres to the bridge, the train’s speed of 50kmh was said to be “significantly in excess” of the controlled speed and the train entered the floodwater.

The train crew were uninjured, but there was some damage to the train’s rolling stock caused by water immersion.


The ATSB found the Little Banyan Creek weather monitoring station’s water level sensor had been out of service for 57 days and therefore no flood alarm was provided to the train crew.

QR has since improved its processes for the reliability of weather monitoring systems and developed new procedures and training for network control personnel for managing a CAN, including for proactively monitoring conditions on the network.

“This occurrence highlights the importance of having serviceable weather monitoring stations at known flooding locations on a rail network, especially during the tropical wet season, and ensuring that if these systems are not functioning then all relevant parties are aware of the problem,” the ATSB stated.

“This occurrence also highlights the importance of effective communication between all relevant parties during a condition affecting the network.”