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Mode Rail
Reference No. RR201300005
Date reported 29 April 2013
Concern title Shunting of passenger cars
Concern summary

The concern related to procedure for the shunting of cars across two roads not being followed correctly which means that when the driver is obscured and safe worker providing guidance is also obscured.

Industry / Operation affected Rail: Passenger - regional
Concern subject type Rail: Operations

Reporter's concern

The reporter expressed a safety concern regarding the shunting of cars.

The reporter stated that each day, at the start of running, the Dining Car Set is propelled across the points and into the head shunt. The set extends beyond the fouling point straddling the points. The next movement propels the shuttle car sets towards the cars that straddle the two roads. Due to the curved platform the safe worker in charge of the shunt, giving shunting hand signals, must walk outside the car to be seen by the driver. This means they have no access to the brake. Should the safe worker get obscured and the driver fail to stop, as required by the procedures when the safe worker is obscured, the propelled set could be pushed into the side of the car(s) straddling the two roads.

In the reporter's experience, the safe worker is frequently obscured by passengers and even other railway workers on the platform. Drivers rarely stop in this situation, as required by the operational rules, usually relying on their unofficial marks on the platform for where to stop.

Operator's response (Operator 1)

No response received from the operator.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

The operator has a legislative obligation to report prescribed reportable circumstances, such as any failure or breach of any rail operations practice, procedure or rule. On analysing occurrence data recorded by the regulator, no specific reportable occurrences relating to shunting incidents had been reported by the operator over the past two years.

The regulator can confirm that [operator] has a comprehensive safety management system (SMS), which includes shunting operations etc.

In response to the expressed safety concerns, our rail safety operations transport safety officers will be undertaking a rail safety audit during the July - September 2013 quarter with focus on their shunting operations, reporting of occurrences and corrective actions.

ATSB comment

The operator subsequently contacted the ATSB and advised that the procedure for the movement of trains had been changed as a result of the REPCON report.

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Last update 24 March 2014