Rail safety issues and actions

Response to significant weather events

Issue number: RO-2012-002-SI-01
Who it affects: All rail infrastructure managers
Issue owner: Australian Rail Track Corporation Limited
Transport function: Rail: Infrastructure
Background: Investigation Report RO-2012-002
Issue release date: 30 August 2013
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ARTC correspondence, dated 2 October 2013, noted the ATSB's comments and has commenced documenting its processes. The development and implementation of processes should be monitored by the ONRSR as part of auditing cycle in administering the corrective action provisions under the Rail Safety Act.

Safety issue description

The ARTC’s systems and operational procedures provided limited additional information or guidance to assist network control staff in identifying and assessing a potential threat to the serviceability of the infrastructure resulting from significant weather events.

Proactive Action

Action number: RO-2012-002-NSA-002
Action organisation: Australian Rail Track Corporation Limited
Date: 30 August 2013
Action status: Closed

Review of applied processes, sourcing of more timely information and trialling of remote monitoring stations at selected sites has been undertaken. The ARTC has engaged the services of a third party (March 2013) to provide an early warning network advising ARTC representatives, including the Train Transit Manager, of the likelihood of severe weather events such as high rainfall, winds and fire. The ARTC has also commenced trials of high water level monitoring equipment at two locations in South Australia with the option of further rollout if proved successful.

However, having safely managed equally significant flood events at other locations on the ARTC network by application of the existing processes, enhancement of applicable processes will be evaluated on a cost / benefit / risk exposure basis.

ATSB comment:

The ATSB is satisfied that the action taken by the ARTC has identified the risk posed by significant weather events and that the ARTC has emphasised the need to enhance applicable processes based on the assessment of risk exposure. The ATSB notes that the ARTC has not identified any actions to develop/improve operational procedures for implementation by network control staff when assessing response to a significant weather event.

Recommendation

Action number: RO-2012-002-SR-003
Action organisation: Australian Rail Track Corporation Limited
Date: 30 August 2013
Action status: Closed

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that the Australian Rail Track Corporation undertake further work on their systems and operational procedures that currently provide limited additional information or guidance to assist network control staff in identifying and assessing a potential threat to the serviceability of the infrastructure resulting from significant weather events.

Last update 13 February 2014