Section 21 (2) of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 (TSI Act) empowers the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to discontinue an investigation into a transport safety matter at any time. Section 21 (3) of the TSI Act requires the ATSB to publish a statement setting out the reasons for discontinuing an investigation.
On 6 September 2018, the ATSB commenced an investigation into a safeworking irregularity between a suburban passenger train (45-E) and three rail track workers on the Up Suburban Line on 3 September 2018, about 100–200 m from Flemington Station in Sydney, New South Wales.
A protection officer and work group of three arrived at Flemington to place temporary speed restriction warning boards beside the Up Suburban Line on 3 September 2018, in conjunction with a track possession between Homebush and Redfern. Heavy rain prevented the group from immediately accessing the track.
After 25 minutes, the protection officer was contacted by the possession protection officer and advised that the track possession between Homebush and Redfern had been granted. Without conducting a safety assessment or seeking permission from the Flemington area controller, the protection officer and work group entered the rail corridor and moved along the track, towards the location where they intended to place the warning boards.
As Sydney Trains’ Leppington to Circular Quay suburban passenger service 45-E approached Flemington station on the Up Suburban Line at 70 km/h, the train driver saw the three workers on the track. The train driver sounded the horn and applied brake, and the workers moved across to the adjacent Down Suburban Line. The incident was subsequently reported by the train driver as a ’near miss‘.
On questioning the possession protection officer about the presence of a train within the track possession area, the protection officer was reminded that the section where the work group intended to place warning boards was not within the track possession between Homebush and Redfern.
The ATSB obtained the Sydney Trains workplace investigation report and initial incident reports, audio communication between the protection officer and the area controller Flemington, CCTV camera footage from Flemington station, and interviewed the protection officer.
Based on its review of this information, the ATSB concluded that it was unlikely that further investigation of this specific occurrence would identify any systemic safety issues. Consequently, the ATSB has discontinued this investigation.
Safe work on track is one of the ATSB’s SafetyWatch items. The ATSB is aware that this occurrence has similarities with a number of other occurrences in recent years in the Sydney region, and the ATSB is currently conducting other investigations of safe work occurrences. The ATSB is actively monitoring these types of occurrences.
|Date:||03 September 2018||Investigation status:||Discontinued|
|Time:||1130 EST||Investigation level:||Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|State:||New South Wales|
|Release date:||18 April 2019||Occurrence category:||Incident|
|Report status:||Discontinued||Highest injury level:||None|
|Line operator||Sydney Trains|
|Train operator||Sydney Trains|
|Type of operation||Passenger service|
|Sector||Passenger - metropolitan|
|Damage to train||Nil|
|Departure point||Leppington, NSW|
|Destination||Circular Quay, Sydney, NSW|