A runaway train rolled through the Whyalla Steelworks, passing eight level crossings and a track used to move molten iron - but the South Australian government has shut down an investigation into the incident after a funding agreement expired.
The driver involved was connecting an engine to wagons on the morning of July 31, when the train began to roll backwards towards the steelworks.
After a failed attempted to turn on the airbrakes and the exterior mechanical handbrake, the driver jumped from the moving cab and alerted controllers.
The train and empty wagons rolled for about six kilometres through the yard, reaching speeds of more than 50km/h on a track with a limit of 15km/h.
During its 11-minute run, it travelled about six kilometres and crossed eight level crossings and a railway track used to move wagons carrying molten iron.
"As the track levelled out, the train slowed by itself and stopped on the steelworks balloon loop," a report released this week by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said.
Initial information from the train operator, Genesee & Wyoming Australia, indicated the incident was the result of a connection closing before a brake pipe had been exhausted.
"This condition, combined with an undetected fault on one locomotive, resulted in all brakes releasing and the subsequent train runaway," the report said.
But the ATSB revealed it had been instructed to discontinue the investigation. This was because a funding arrangement with the SA government had expired and the government did not see any value in continuing with the inquiry.
"The government of South Australia informed the ATSB that they considered additional investigatory effort would not provide any increased understanding of the root cause of the incident and had decided not to fund any ongoing activities," the report said.
Previously, the SA government has funded the bureau to undertake investigations into incidents on the state's rail networks through a charging agreement.
The government is committed to working with the ATSB to draft the terms of a future funding agreement.
Australian Associated Press