The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released its preliminary report into a freight train collision at Jumperkine in Western Australia.
The collision occurred on 24 December, 2019, when a Pacific National freight train travelling towards Perth collided with the rear of a stationary grain train, operated by Watco. The driver of the Pacific National train, Greg Reid, suffered fatal injuries.
Prior to the collision the freight train passed a signal set at caution, then a temporary speed restriction ahead sign warning of a 30km/h speed restriction. The preliminary report then establishes that the freight train passed a signal set at stop when travelling at 72km/h.
Roughly 60 metres after the stop signal, the freight train passed a temporary speed restriction start sign, and the driver applied the brake three seconds later. This slowed the train down as it travelled around a left hand curve and then onto a straight section of track. The report then notes that the rear of the grain train would have come into view, leading the driver to apply the emergency brake. 13 seconds after the brake was applied the freight train collided with the grain train.
The collision occurred at 2am and the driver was acknowledging the vigilance system alerts. Before the collision a network controlled had attempted to contact the driver, but there was no response.
ATSB director transport safety Stuart Godley said that further investigations would be undertaken.
“In the coming months transport safety investigators will examine the functionality of the locomotive’s braking and vigilance control systems and undertake further analysis of event data recorders and video recordings,” said Godley.
A spokesperson for Pacific National said the company acknowledges the report.
“At Pacific National the safety of our employees and contractors is our highest priority and as a business we are devastated by the loss of our train driver Greg Reid in this very unfortunate incident. We continue to offer support to Greg’s family.”
Arc Infrastructure, the operator and manager of the accident site, also noted the report.
“Arc Infrastructure fully cooperated with the ATSB in their investigation including providing an internal investigation report into the Jumperkine incident. Arc Infrastructure remains committed to working with industry to continue to improve the safety of the rail industry,” said an Arc Infrastructure spokesperson.
“We wish to thank the ATSB for the detailed factual information contained in the report and for their ongoing commitment to safety in our industry.”
Proactive safety actions have been taken by both Pacific National and Arc Infrastructure and cover operations carried out between midnight and 6am, the calling of train routes, and processes for when a train has stopped.