On October 10, a Pacific National coal train derailed entering the down refuge at Waterfall Yard. A minor derailment involving four wagons and a set of points still caused a great deal of disruption to Cityrail passengers all along the Illawarra Line.
CA64 loaded coal bound for Inner Harbour, Port Kembla was routed into the refuge at Waterfall to overtake a terminating suburban train on platform two. CA64 was made up of a rake of the older NHVF hoppers headed up by 8249, 8135, 8129 and GL105. While entering the refuge, a couple of bogies on the wagons passing over the points derailed. At this stage, it is suspected that the derailment was caused by poor wagon maintenence on the part of Pacific National, as a number of cracked axles on the operational wagons were found after the derailment occoured. The wagons in question are “on loan” to Southern Coal from The Hunter Valley and are some of the older wagons in the fleet.
The NHVF wagons are 100 tonne gross mass hoppers made into 42-wagon rakes. These wagons are 3-pack articulated wagon sets with standard auto couplers on the leading and trailing wagon of each pack. The wagons are over thirty years old, often known as “CHS” type wagons. Most are painted in Pacific National blue, a change from the usual black or silver of the other coal hoppers.
After the derailment, the locomotives shunted the rest of the hoppers into Waterfall Yard.
The derailment caused considerable damage to the points at the Sydney end of the down refuge, taking the line out of action – not a major problem over the following weekend, due to a complete Cityrail closedown, although as the refuge is used for down south coast interurbans to overtake terminating suburban trains on Waterfall platform two, the full ramifications may yet to be seen this coming week.
It is expected that the refuge will be reopened for traffic by Friday 17th October.
Thanks to an anonymous friend in RMC for the bulk of this information, as even though I was able to visit the site first hand that afternoon, it was interesting to note exactly what happened, and he was able to provide a great deal of information about the derailment, without which this article would not be possible!