In Transport

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson

Federal Investigation Rules Trains Safe

Victor P Taffa

The Newman Government has welcomed the Australian Transport Safety Bureau interim report that rules out catastrophic brake failure as the cause of the train crash at Cleveland station on 31 January 2013.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the report rejects the brake failure claims made by Rail, Tram and Bus Union Queensland State Secretary Owen Doogan.

“It is disappointing Mr. Doogan decided to take matters into his own hands and tell drivers not to operate one-third of city fleet, claiming there had been catastrophic break failure.” Mr. Emerson said.

“This type of action is politically motivated and not in the best interests of passengers or a proper investigation.”

“The preliminary findings identify that ‘rail head contamination’ build-up of gum leaves and various oils coupled with light rain falling as the train approached the station, caused the incident.”

“The report said the driver’s actions were appropriate and did not contribute to the accident.” Mr. Emerson said.

“Since this incident occurred I have been clear that the ATSB was to inform the government of any fault with these units.”

“While the ATSB was satisfied the trains were safe, the interim report identifies a number of actions to be implemented by a working group that includes Queensland Rail, key union representatives and a rail safety risk management consultant.”

Mr. Emerson engaged the ATSB the day after the accident and requested a preliminary report when it became apparent the full investigation would take several months.

“As well as identifying the cause of the crash the report also identified the need for Queensland Rail to put in place a system to identify, monitor or treat the types of circumstances which led to the crash.” Mr. Emerson said.

“Despite this incident being caused by an unusual mix of events it is still important that we look at how processes can be improved to eliminate future risk.”

To date Queensland Rail has implemented a number of interim actions such as examining the trains involved in wheel slide incidents, adjusting how drivers operate in certain conditions and removing leaves and debris from track areas where wheel slide incidents have occurred.

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