Freight Rail, Safety, Standards & Regulation, Signalling & Communications

Investigation ended into NSW near miss

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has ceased its investigation into a signalling error which led to a near collision between a freight train and a maintenance vehicle at Islington Junction in Newcastle in 2017.

The incident arose on June 25, 2017, when a track maintenance vehicle was stopped by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) train control at signal IJ25.

Crews in the track maintenance vehicle noticed that they were foul of the Up main line, but the signals were clear for rail traffic to pass through.

After urgently requesting permission, the crew moved the vehicle further forward, shortly before freight train 4190N passed through the junction.

According to the Bureau, the ARTC has since discovered the upgrade of the signalling system at the junction – completed a decade prior – did not include a risk control which previously prevented conflicting train movements at the junction.

“ARTC have since changed the interlocking system to manage the risk of conflicting movements at Islington Junction,” the Bureau said. “Since the incident, ARTC have inspected similar crossings and confirmed that the missed interlocking risk control was isolated to the crossing at Islington Junction.”

With the safety risk identified and these steps taken, the ATSB has opted to discontinue its investigation into the incident.

The legislation outlining the Bureau’s role allows for such an action if it decides futher investigation would not identify any more safety issues.

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