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 25 June 2017, the ATSB commenced an investigation into a near collision between a Track Maintenance Vehicle (TMV) NK83 and freight train 4190N due to a signal irregularity at Islington Junction, NSW.
At approximately 1020 (AEST) on 25 May 2017, a TMV NK83 travelling to Port Waratah was stopped by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) train control at Signal IJ25. The crew in the rear locomotive of NK83 noticed that although they were foul of the Up main, the signals were clear for rail traffic to pass through. Soon after this, freight train 4190N was seen operating on the Up main headed towards NK83. The crew in the rear locomotive of NK83 made an urgent request to move NK83 forward to avoid a being struck by 4190N. NK83 moved forward and avoided being struck by 4190N.
ATSB’s preliminary evidence collection revealed:
- The signaling system at Islington junction was upgraded in 2007. The upgrade of the interlocking system did not include a risk control which previously prevented conflicting train movements at the junction.
- ARTC have since changed the interlocking system to manage the risk of conflicting movements at Islington Junction.
- Since the incident, ARTC have inspected similar crossings and confirmed that the missed interlocking risk control was isolated to the crossing at Islington Junction.
Following ARTC’s confirmation that the incident was isolated to the crossing at Islington Junction, the ATSB considered it was unlikely that further ATSB investigation would identify any systemic safety issues. As such, the ATSB has discontinued this investigation.