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At about 0217 on Thursday 12 November 2009, train ST22, an XPT passenger service, was being routed into No.1 Platform Road at Cootamundra, New South Wales. The driver of the XPT received a Medium Turnout indication on signal CA74 signifying that the route into No.1 Platform Road was set and unobstructed. Shortly after passing over the Gundagai Road level crossing and traversing 136 points set into No.1 Platform Road, the driver of the XPT observed the last wagon of freight train 4MB7, located on the Up Main line, was obstructing the path of his train. He applied the train brakes and stopped just short of train 4MB7.

The driver of the XPT immediately contacted the network controller and advised him of the problem. Shortly thereafter the freight train was moved forward, at the request of the network controller, to clear a path for the XPT into No.1 Platform Road.

The investigation determined that a signalling system design error allowed signal CA74 to be cleared for the passage of the XPT even though the route into No.1 Platform Road was obstructed by the last vehicle of freight train 4MB7 which was stationary on the adjacent Up Main line.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has determined that actions taken by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) should mitigate the risk of a similar occurrence but has identified further issues relating to signal design, installation and commissioning where further action may enhance the strategies already put in place by the ARTC.

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