Rail safety issues and actions

Track inspection regime

Issue number: RO-2013-010-SI-01
Who it affects: Owners and operators of rail infrastructure
Issue owner: V/Line Pty Ltd
Transport function: Rail: Infrastructure
Background: Investigation Report RO-2013-010
Issue release date: 29 April 2015
Current issue status: Safety action pending
Issue status justification:

V/Line has initiated actions that, subject to their effective implementation, should improve the knowledge of asset condition and the management of risks associated with the deterioration of track at unsealed level crossings. ONRSR has advised of ongoing monitoring of the V/Line safety action to address safety issue, with completion expected 1 July 2017.

Safety issue description

The track inspection regime did not identify the deteriorated rail condition at the O’Tooles Road level crossing. The regime placed an over-reliance on ultrasonic testing and did not include sufficient supplementary systems for monitoring the condition of buried track at unsealed level crossings.

Proactive Action

Action number: RO-2013-010-NSA-093
Action organisation: V/Line
Date: 29 April 2015
Action status: Monitor

Following the incident, V/Line examined 13 per cent of unsealed crossings in its network. The results of inspections were used to develop recommendations for other unsealed level crossings across the V/Line network.

V/Line’s Enterprise Asset Management System (EAMS) will be updated with improved maintenance requirements for unsealed crossings, and an Asset Condition Criticality and Risk Index (ACCRI) assessment is underway to determine priority asset maintenance requirements, including those for unsealed crossings. 

Other specific actions advised by V/Line include:

  • The RFD (Rail Flaw Detection) regime was audited, and V/Line subsequently worked with Speno to improve ultrasonic test processes.
  • A further review has highlighted a number of high risk locations for priority attention and the buried crossings program will increase during 2015-16.
  • Unsealed crossings showing signs of drainage/formation failure will be brought forward in the Annual Works Plan (AWP).
  • Rails in unsealed crossings will be painted prior to installation (web and foot).

ATSB comment:

This is a complex safety issue that potentially affects a large number of crossings in the regional network. The safety actions advised by V/Line will assist in reducing the risk associated with this safety issue; however, it is recognised that the success of these actions is dependent on their effective implementation. Also, the risks associated with the latent condition of yet to be inspected unsealed level crossings must be managed.

Additional correspondence

Response date: 19 August 2016
Response from: V/Line
Action status: Closed
Response text:

V/Line advise that inspection of level crossings is being discussed on a monthly basis with ONRSR (the national rail regulator).

Response date: 31 October 2016
Response from: ONRSR
Action status: Closed
Response text:

ONRSR advised that through audit it was verifying that V/Line was continuing with its riskbased program for inspection of all unsealed level crossings. The V/Line program has an expected completion date of 1 July 2017.

Last update 04 January 2017