THERMAL damage to a wheel contributed to the derailment of an SCT Logistics freight train near Cook, South Australia, in January of last year.

That was the verdict of a report into the incident prepared for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

At the time, the train was travelling from Melbourne to Perth.

According to the report, a wagon experienced a ruptured wheel, resulting in the derailment.

According to the ATSB, thermal damage to the wheel resulted in a fatigue crack in the flange which propagated into the plate.

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Cracking then continued propagating around the plate, branching out to the rim, resulting in the wheel failure and ultimate derailment of the wagon.

According to the report, SCT Logistics has worked with their maintenance provider to develop an improved inspection process.

SCT Logistics also plans to phase out the type of wheelsets that ruptured in the incident, in favour of a type that is less prone to the development of fatigue cracks.

“Vigilant field inspections are a useful tool for the detection and monitoring of fatigue cracks,” the ATSB noted.

“However, they are not infallible, and should be utilised with an understanding of their limitations.”

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