Rail safety issues and actions

Communication protocols at the Melbourne Freight Terminal

Issue number: RO-2013-020-SI-02
Who it affects: Network Control
Issue owner: Pacific National
Transport function: Rail: Operations control
Background: Investigation Report RO-2013-020
Issue release date: 16 October 2015
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB is satisfied that the action taken by Pacific National addresses this safety issue.

Safety issue description

The practice of using a third party (the shunt planner) to facilitate communication between Network Control Officers and train drivers at the Melbourne Freight Terminal prevented an effective response to the emergency.

Proactive Action

Action number: RO-2013-020-NSA-098
Action organisation: Pacific National
Date: 16 October 2015
Action status: Closed

Pacific National has formally communicated the requirements of ARTC Train Notice 1983 - Shunting for Train and Locomotive Movements at Melbourne Freight Terminal to all Melbourne Freight Terminal (MFT) Shunt Planners, through the issue of Local Safety Notice LSN-Melb-13/01 - Short Shunting Movements between Opposing Fixed Signals. The notice reiterates the following:

  • All communications with ARTC Network Controllers are to be undertaken in accordance with ARTC Train Notice 1983;
  • All MFT Shunt Planners are to contact the ARTC Network Controllers to request access and nominate departure signals for shunting movements entering the ARTC network from the MFT; and
  • Once the shunting movement has entered the ARTC network the Network Controller is to contact the Locomotive Driver directly regarding any issues or to provide further instructions in relation to the shunting movements.

To ensure the protocols are followed as required, Pacific National has formally advised ARTC of its requirements for communications between MFT and the ARTC Network Controller.

Last update 16 October 2015