There was no RailCorp instruction that specifically referred to the need for train crew to prioritise tasks at safety critical locations or at times when workload is high.
ATSB assessment of response/action
It is acknowledged that communications of a safety critical nature with network controllers and others involved in railway safeworking is a routine, and very necessary, activity of a train driver. In this instance communication with the network controller related to obtaining a Condition Affecting the Network advice that was directly associated with the imminent passage of the train. This issue required the driver’s immediate attention whereas communication with the Passenger Services Supervisor was not immediately associated with the safe passage of the train and was not safety critical in nature. Therefore this communication was not necessary at the time of departing Junee station yard.
The ATSB believes that safety could be improved if train crews were provided with guidance regarding prioritisation of critical tasks such as when departing stations, running through station yards, approaching track gangs or level crossings and so on.