A train derailment at Junee that caused days of scheduling issues has been attributed to a "likely detectable rail defect."
On June 7 2019, two sets of wheels on a container wagon freight train fell off the track near the Junee station on its way from Griffith to Melbourne.
The incident the temporary closure of the platform track, with freight and passenger services re-routed through alternative tracks until June 11 as repair work was conducted.
A relieved train crew detected the derailment during a roll-by inspection and notified the driver who was able to stop the train, avoiding any injuries and preventing further damage to the track.
A report released by the NSW Office of Transport Safety Investigations has found the derailment was caused by two breaks in the rail which could have been detected.
The two breaks were caused by fatigue, and it is unlikely there were any faults with the train that contributed to the incident.
Maintenance records show there was no known damage recorded along the track at the time of the derailment.
It was likely the rail breaks had occurred before a track patrol inspection conducted on June 3, however this type of inspection generally picks up only large or obvious faults along the track.
The report found at the time of the derailment, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) maintenance practices did not ensure the damaged section of the track was undergoing regular ultrasonic testing due to a change in practices in 2017.
The report found it was likely ultrasonic testing could have picked up the rail breaks and prevented the derailment.
Following the incident, the ARTC has updated its maintenance register to include turnouts between main lines that were previously not the subject of routine ultrasonic testing.
The organisation has also completed a round of testing of the identified sections and included them in the annual testing program.