Safe railways for Australia

ATSB report: Fire in locomotive near Cardiff, NSW on 4 April 2016

18 January 2018

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released the final investigation report into a fire in a locomotive near Cardiff, NSW on 4 April 2016.

Report summary

At approximately 0505, lead locomotive NR8 on train 7YN2 caught fire near the southern side of Cardiff railway station. The crew stopped the train 250 metres north of the station after to the fire by flames emanating the locomotive’s engine cabin. The NSW Fire and Rescue (NSWFR) were summoned, and both crew members evacuated without injury, but the NSFWR could not immediately commence extinguishing the fire due to the overhead electrical wiring remaining energised. An engine explosion displaced a number of engine crank case inspection covers before the NSWFR gained access to extinguish the fire.

The ATSB investigation found that two of the ten oil filter tank cover bolts had failed beneath the retaining nut due to fatigue and overload fractures.

Correct tensioning of bolts can be a critical aspect of ensuring that equipment functions as designed. Operators should ensure their safety management systems provide appropriate procedures for bolt inspection and tensioning where there is risk of equipment failure, especially when the consequence can escalate to fire.

The report also noted the need for organisations to prepare their staff to deal with the early stages of a fire, so they can take steps to minimise any escalation.

A full copy of the report is available on the ATSB’s website: Fire in locomotive near Cardiff, NSW on 4 April 2016