David Johnson's Photos of
Accidents, Collisions and Derailments

See Also Danger Ahead - Historic Railway Disasters

Violet Town, 1969

The Southern Aurora collided head-on with a freight train near Violet Town

Sutherland, 1990

A number of track machines ran away in the up siding at Sutherland, running off the end of the track.

Bethungra, 1991

A Freight train derailed near the bottom of the Bethungra Spiral

Cronulla, 1991

The brakes on a train in the storage siding at Cronulla were released or leaked off, causing the train to run through a set of catch points.

Sutherland, 1991

A common occurence is the breaking of couplers, especially on steep grades.

Chullora, February 17th, 1992

Police Rescue filmed an episode based on a train collision. They staged an accident with 607/707 standing next to 603 with 703 being placed on top of 603. The collision footage was shot at Elcar platform, with the subsequent rescue being filmed at Substation, Chullora. These photos were taken the day afterwards on February 18th, 1992


Shunting accidents often occur due to a variety of reasons.

Central, December 12th, 1994

Early on the morning of December 12th, 1994, six car set R31 was approaching Central on the up suburban line. A set of points which was not correctly locked moved underneath the leading car, causing the No. 1 end to diverge towards the up local line. The train came to a stand precariously over the top of the down suburban line at the flyovers (Flying Junctions).

Waterfall, December 20th, 1994

A minor shunting mishap at Waterfall resulted in the condemning of two stainless steel cars. A train in the shunting neck was propelled into a train standing on the platform.

Stanmore, December 20th, 1994

Due to excessive heat during the afternoon, 3 trains simultaneously brought down the overhead between Newtown and Ashfield, closing 4 tracks in the afternoon Peak.

Hurstville, December 1995

A train standing in the Storage sidings at Hurstville rolled away through a set of catch points.

Unanderra, January 1996

The rails spread under a Wongawilli BHP coal train in the Unanderra exchange sidings.

Turrella, May 1997

An 8 car S set brought down the overhead over the brand new up East Hills Line between Turella and Tempe. The damaged pantographs got tangled at Meeks Road South Junction before the driver realised what had happened. The pantographs were ripped off 2 of the 4 power cars.

Mortdale Fires

Vandals entered Mortdale Car Sheds twice, about a fortnight apart. On their first visit, they torched 600 class trailer car 702. On their second visit, they torched two Double Deck Suburban carriages.

Beresfield, October 1997

A loaded coal train collided with the rear of another stationary coal train at Beresfield Station. One locomotive was destroyed and the other two are under evaluation. The inquiry blamed driver fatigue.

Robertson, May 19th, 1998

This is the only accident on this page involving a fatality. My deepest sympathies go out to the families, friends and workmates of the two drivers involved. The train they were driving was 1BY4 Brisbane to Whyalla Steel Train headed by NR3, NR26 and NR57. At 05:30 in the pouring rain and heavy fog, the abutments of a recently replaced road overbridge collapsed onto the tracks. The leading locomotive derailed onto its side and the roof was ripped off by the abutments of the new bridge. The train then pushed the locomotive into a mound of mud before coming to a rest. All photos were taken the following day on May 20th, 1998.

Concord West, June 9th, 1998

At approximately 04:25 on Tuesday the 9th of June, run 73-A Hornsby Car Sheds to Strathfield empty train took the turnout from the Up Main to the Up Refuge at Concord West in excess of 100 km/h. The reason is the subject of an internal investigation. Seven of the eight carriages derailed, with the clean-up taking two days.

Douglas Park, 1999

A wagon in the middle of a down freight train jumped the tracks at Douglas Park, causing an impressive pile-up.

Hornsby, July 9th, 1999

At approximately 18:30 on Friday July 9th, 1999, an 8 car set headed by S91 on the down refuge at Hornsby exceeded its authority by about 12 car lengths. Unfortunately, there was no track for the last 80 metres. Subsequently, cars C3057, D4051, T4129 and C3752 were all derailed. D4051 was significantly damaged by a stanchion. C3057 stopped short of hitting another stanchion by mere metres. Locomotive 4873 moved three of the cars to Hornsby Maintenance Centre, whilst 48100 moved the last one. Where the train derailed, the track was subsequently finished some time later, and became Turnback 2. All photos were taken over the following two days on July 10th and 11th, 1999.

Redfern, April, 2000

Set C8, empty cars Sydney to Eveleigh, whilst using the new two-way facility in the Engine Dive, split the points and derailed, causing some cars to lean at a precarious angle.

Kingsgrove, October 6th, 2000

The rear 4 cars of an 8 car tangara derailed on the approach to Kingsgrove station. The rear 3 cars tipped onto their sides.

Sydney Terminal, December 26th, 2000

A V set arriving on platform 1 at Sydney Terminal failed to stop at the buffers, and damaged the fence at the concourse.

Unanderra, June 28th, 2003

Two 81 class locomotives on 9162 Dunmore to Sydney stone train derailed at the catch points at the Northern end of Unanderra.

Berala, November 4th, 2005

X53 and EL58 on 4BM7 exceeded their authority on the Lidcombe Loop, passing a signal at stop and derailing at the catchpoints in a rather precarious way.

Tennessee, December 15th, 2005

8173 and L254 were hauling 1333 through Bargo when it became apparent that L254 was on fire. The train was brought to a stand at Tennessee crossovers and waited for the fire brigade to attend.


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