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A quick-thinking Sydney Trains worker averted disaster on Saturday when a 40-wagon freight train lost its ability to brake as it hurtled towards Unanderra, near Wollongong.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating the incident on the Moss Vale to Unanderra line.
The alarm was raised just before 1pm, when the privately-owned train, carrying grain, reported braking issues at Dombarton, north-west of Dapto.
Sydney Trains' Rail Management Centre was alerted to the problem and staff acted quickly to divert the train to an uphill siding yard.
"Sydney Trains' signallers stopped all other nearby freight and rail services, and diverted the train to a siding yard at Unanderra, where it was able to safely stop," a Sydney Trains spokeswoman said.
"The freight train was then able to proceed to Inner Harbour [at Port Kembla] without further incident."
The spokeswoman confirmed the train was privately owned and had been travelling on Australian Rail Track Corporation tracks at the time of the incident.
An spokesman for the corporation confirmed the incident. "The incident has been reported to the relevant rail safety regulators ... who will be investigating. ARTC will also investigate the incident," he said.
"Details such as the train speed ... are subject to the relevant investigations."
The Office of Transport Safety Investigations – an independent statutory body that reports to the NSW Minister for Transport – has also been notified.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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