AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Recreational drug use yields dangerous results for train driver

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> An August 2012 incident in which the crew of a freight train exceeded the limit of their train authority has shown the impact that recreational drug use can have on safe rail operations. It also highlights the need for rail operators to implement robust procedures to manage the supervision, training and assessment of train drivers. </span> <p>At the time of the incident, the train was en route from Adelaide, SA, to Darwin, NT and the driver was a trainee who was unfamiliar with the route and had not completed the operator’s minimal competencies to enable him to operate the train.</p><p>The qualified supervising driver had allowed the trainee to take control of the train and was mentoring the trainee by identifying the features of each section of track and explaining driving techniques to achieve the target speeds for those areas.</p><p>Over the course of the journey, communication between the two diminished and the supervising driver fell asleep.&nbsp</p><div>It was at Tarcoola, SA, where the crew exceeded their proceed authority. The train authority had authorised the train to travel to Northgate, which is on the railway branching to the north from Tarcoola (towards Darwin). However, the crew did not take the line to Northgate and continued through Tarcoola, travelling about 2.6 km west towards Perth, before stopping.&nbsp