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At about 1858 on 14 January 2009, a safeworking irregularity occurred involving two passenger trains, 4SA8, the Indian Pacific, and WT28, an XPT, at Tarana in NSW. Both trains had been authorised to occupy the single line within the Tarana interlocked area at the same time. Fortunately, each driver saw the opposing movement and brought their trains to a stand about 524 m apart. After a short wait, the trains were authorised to continue their respective journeys.

The investigation determined that the West Board network controller located at Broadmeadow train control centre, did not adequately plan the intended train movements through the sections Wallerawang to Tarana and Bathurst to Tarana or determine a specific limit of authority on the Special Proceed Authority (SPA) number 37 issued to the driver of the XPT, WT28. The West Board network controller also issued SPA number 38 to the driver of train 4SA8, even though it overlapped the authority of SPA number 37.

The investigation report indentified three safety issues relating to the risks of using a manual train management system, inadequate auditing of safeworking systems, and ambiguous authority limits.

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[ Download PDF: 2.47MB]
General details
Date: 14 January 2009 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1858 ESuT  
Location:Tarana Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Safe Working Irregularity/Breach 
Release date: 11 December 2009  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Train 1 details
Train registration: XPT & Indian Pacific 
Type of operation: Passenger Train 
Damage to train: Nil 
Departure point:Dubbo
Train 2 details
Train registration: Indian Pacific 4SA8 
Type of operation: Passenger Train 
Damage to train: Nil 
Departure point:Sydney

Rail safety recommendation

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Last update 14 November 2018