Rail safety issues and actions

The management of conditional proceed authorities

Issue number: RO-2012-011-SI-03
Who it affects: Rail operators and rail safety workers
Issue owner: Australian Rail Track Corporation
Transport function: Rail: Operations control
Background: Investigation Report RO-2012-011
Issue release date: 22 June 2015
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB is satisfied that the additional action taken by ARTC, and continued engagement between ARTC and ONRSR, will adequately address this safety issue.

Safety issue description

The procedures in the ARTC CoP for the use and verification of a conditional proceed authority were ineffective in mitigating the risk to the effectiveness of that authority arising from human error.

Proactive Action

Action number: RO-2012-011-NSA-020
Action organisation: Australian Rail Track Corporation
Date: 22 June 2015
Action status: Monitor

ARTC will be trialling the use of additional information provided on the Conditional Proceed Authority (CPA), which will reiterate the requirement of the current authority in effect. This additional wording will reinforce the requirements of the crossing information contained within the current authority.


ATSB comment:

At the time of this report release, the safety actions advised by ARTC had not yet been fully implemented. The ATSB is satisfied that the actions proposed by ARTC and the ONRSR will, when completed, adequately address this safety issue.

Additional correspondence

Response date: 07 October 2015
Response from: ARTC
Action status: Closed
Response text:

Following the release of this safety issue, ARTC have:

  • Designed, installed, and commissioned a conventional remote controlled wayside signalling system between Tarcoola and Spencer Junction (Port Augusta). This resulted in the cessation of Manual Train Authority Working in the area of highest train density on the Port Augusta – Kalgoorlie rail corridor.
  • Made significant progress in the development and field-testing of the Advanced Train Management System (ATMS). When rolled out as the primary safe working system significant improvement in system safety and train operating efficiency will be achieved.

The ARTC and ONRSR are continuing actions to review current practice, and identify areas of possible improvement, subject to robust risk assessment and review prior to implementation.

Last update 15 October 2015