At approximately 1650 on 10 February 2010, empty passenger train WP46 was authorised to travel through Manildra Yard on the main line. However, at the same time a freight train was already standing on the main line, having recently completed shunting within the yard limits relating to preparation of train 8938.
The driver of WP46 heard radio chatter relating to the freight train, so he broadcast that train WP46 was approaching and was authorised to travel through Manildra on the main line. The crew of the freight train immediately replied that they were standing on the main line and advised train WP46 to stop. Train WP46 had already passed the yard limit board but the driver had sighted and reacted to a main line indicator (MLI) showing a red (stop) indication. Train WP46 stopped before passing the MLI, which was located more than 530 m before the track occupied by the freight train.
While a number of defences served to avoid a collision in this case, the event posed a serious safeworking irregularity where one train had been authorised to proceed over track occupied by a second train.
The investigation concluded that the ARTC network controller fulfilled a shunt order without entering information into the computer system identifying that both the main line and loop were occupied. The controller had later forgotten about the track occupancies when authorising train WP46 to travel through the Manildra Yard.
The ARTC, Pacific National and the Manildra Group have put processes in place to ensure shunt orders are not fulfilled unless all shunt operations have ceased and either the main line is clear or a form of train protection has been implemented in accordance with the network rules.
The Manildra Mill shunt locomotive did not have a CountryNet communication system installed as required by the New South Wales Rail Safety (General) Regulation 2008.
|Who it affects:||All owners and operators of locomotives accessing the interstate rail network in NSW|
|Date:||10 February 2010||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||1610 EDT||Investigation level:||Complex - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|State:||New South Wales|
|Release date:||18 May 2011||Occurrence category:||Serious Incident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||None|
Train 1 details
|Train registration||Train WP46A|
|Type of operation||Passenger|
|Damage to train||Nil|
Train 2 details
|Train registration||Train 8938|
|Type of operation||Grain train|
|Damage to train||Nil|