Passenger Rail, Safety, Standards & Regulation

Near miss investigation discontinued

A full investigation of a near miss in Sydney’s inner west last September has been deemed unnecessary, after initial findings indicated an individual logistical error led to the incident.

A near miss was reported on September 6, 2018, after a Sydney Trains driver approaching Flemington station saw a group of workers on the track ahead.

The driver, travelling at roughly 70km/h, sounded the train’s horn and applied the emergency brake. The workers fortunately heard the horn and were able to move over to the parallel track, avoiding a collision.

The group, a protection officer and three track workers, were on the track to install temporary speed restriction warning boards beside the line, in conjunction with a track possession between Homebush and Redfern.

They had begun walking down the track after the protection officer was advised the possession had been granted – however the section of track they were walking down was not actually part of the possession itself.

“On questioning the possession protection officer about the presence of a train within the track possession area, the protection officer was reminded that the section where the work group intended to place warning boards was not within the track possession between Homebush and Redfern,” the Australian Transport Safety Bureau explained in a briefing on April 18.

“The ATSB obtained the Sydney Trains workplace investigation report and initial incident reports, audio communication between the protection officer and the area controller Flemington, CCTV camera footage from Flemington station, and interviewed the protection officer. Based on its review of this information, the ATSB concluded that it was unlikely that further investigation of this specific occurrence would identify any systemic safety issues. Consequently, the ATSB has discontinued this investigation.”

The Bureau, an independent federal agency, is empowered by the Transport Safety Investigation Act to discontinue an investigation into a transport safety matter at any time, given it publicly states its reasons for doing so.

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