Non-OEM part linked to coal train fire

MAINTENANCE regimes for locomotives have been overhauled as a result of an investigation into a mid-year coal train fire near Arawba in New South Wales.

Blair Price

There were no injuries from the June 6 incident but the Earing power station-destined coal train received significant fire damage to its fourth locomotive.

A recently released Australian Transport Safety Bureau report found that the fire was most likely caused when a clevis clamping one of the fuel sight glasses to the fuel filter assembly disengaged.

This allowed “fuel under pressure to spray throughout the engine bay and ignite probably on either the hot exhaust manifold or from within the main generator”.

The investigation by coal hauler Pacific National and Downer EDI Rail found that one of the clevis bolts was a third party, “non-Original Equipment Manufacturer” part that had suffered deformation after being installed incorrectly.

This played a role in the disengagement of one side of the clevis, while the clevis was also found to have compressed from a width of 170 mm to 164.5 mm.

ATSB also found that maintenance procedures were not effective with the fuel filter assembly.

It said there were nine sight glass-related issues which caused significant delay or cancellation of trains in service between 2009 and 2013.

Maintenance procedures have changed, including the launch of clevis bolt audits to ensure OEM compliance.

ATSB said the following is now being inspected.

  • Bending in at the base of the sight glass clevis
  • Worn clevis bolts
  • Elongation of clevis bolt locating holes
  • Fracture of sight glass clevis
  • Worn thread on the sight glass thumb screw
  • Correct alignment of the clevis bolts in the aperture of the fuel filter assembly