AN INCIDENT in the New South Wales town of Maitland where a container on a freight train hit a verandah gutter has prompted a safety warning from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

The incident occurred on 16 January as a freight train passed through Maitland railway station about 7.50am.

According to the bureau, the trailing edge of a container on the train came into contact with the verandah gutter mounting brackets on a platform.

The ATSB investigation found inspections had not detected an increase in track height over time which had reduced the available clearance.

A loading irregularity on the train was also reported, where the container was incorrectly secured.


According to the Bureau, the incident showed the importance of ensuring “that processes and requirements are documented, understood, and adhered to”.

The investigation found that the train operator had not documented its process for loading checks expected from the loading operations staff when securing containers to wagons.

The ATSB found these two elements combined to result in the collision between the freight train container and the verandah guttering at the Station.

This incident shows the importance of ensuring that processes and requirements are documented, understood, and adhered to.

Both the train operator and the rail infrastructure manager are reported to have taken “proactive safety action” to reduce the chances of a recurrence.