Freight Rail, Operations & Maintenance, Passenger Rail, Safety, Signalling & Communications, Workforce

Cutting down on SPADs

WA train operator Arc Infrastructure has launched an initiative to raise awareness of SPAD (Signal Passed At Danger) incidents.

The company manages and operates 5500 kilometres of rail network across the South West of WA and is the only freight rail network in the region, providing access to the eastern states of Australia and overseas markets through six Government-owned ports.

Arc Infrastructure introduced SPAD Awareness Week last November and plans on making it an annual event. It is designed to remind above-rail operators and rail traffic crew of the factors they can control to avoid a SPAD.

A SPAD occurs when a train passes a stop signal when not allowed to do so, and is a potential cause of accidents on the rail network.

Arc partnered with above-rail operators Aurizon, SCT Logistics, TransWA, Pacific National and Watco to raise awareness and reduce the number of SPADs that occur on the network.

Arc and its above-rail operator partners will use SPAD Awareness Week to start conversations and remind train drivers of the factors they can control to avoid a SPAD, such as:

• Mobile phones – the use of mobile phones in a locomotive can be a major source of distraction. Train drivers are being reminded of their company’s policy around mobile phone usage.
• Fatigue – studies show that rail traffic crew have slower reaction time, more instances of extreme speeding, more braking errors and penalty braking when fatigued. Train drivers are encouraged to speak up and contact Network Control if they’re feeling tired on the network.
• Distraction – train driving can be monotonous and there are external factors outside the locomotive that can shift a driver’s focus. Research has shown that between 50–75% of SPADs have distraction as a cause. Train drivers can put in place personal strategies for areas where they may get distracted, or at certain times of the day.

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