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Brake bungle cause rail derailment: TAIC

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/06/2017

A steel-laden KiwiRail train derailed in 2013, closing the line to the Glenbrook steel mill for three-and-a-half days, because workers failed to complete an important brake test, an investigation has found.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission had released its report into the crash, which damaged 28 wagons and caused extensive damage to the rail line at Mission Bush.

Shortly after leaving Glenbrook for Mt Maunganui the train, with three locomotives and 36 wagons, split apart between its sixth and seventh wagons on a downhill stretch of rail.

"Within a matter of seconds, the rear portion of the train ran into the forward portion, causing [a] derailment," the TAIC report said.

Investigators found the train's brakes had only been working on the three locomotives, not the wagons, and that a link connecting the sixth and seven wagons was not secured properly.

They said rail workers did not perform the brake test that should have been carried out once the third locomotive was added.

It also also found the train was able to depart with the "wrongly configured brake control system" because there was no mechanical interlock to prevent it moving.

However, TAIC made no recommendations because KiwiRail had already implemented safety measures following the derailment.

It said key lessons from the incident included ensuring train drivers and examiners comply with basic operating rules, staff communicate effectively and shift workers take actions to remain alert while on the job.

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