Rail safety issues and actions

Prioritisation of tasks when departing a station yard

Issue number: RO-2009-008-SI-01
Who it affects: All rail operators
Issue owner: RailCorp
Operation affected: Rail: Rolling stock
Background: Investigation Report RO-2009-008
Date: 11 February 2011

Safety issue description

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.


Action organisation: RailCorp
Action number: RO-2009-SR-034
Date: 11 February 2011
Action status: Released

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that RailCorp takes action to address this safety issue.

Current issue status: Safety action pending
Last update 31 January 2014