Rail safety investigations & reports

Near miss with rail safety worker by trains 89-K and 88-C, near Redfern, New South Wales, on 8 September 2018

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed
Phase: Final report: Dissemination Read more information on this investigation phase

Final Report

Download final report
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What happened

On 8 September 2018, a rail safety worker (RSW) was nearly struck by two trains within the airport tunnel, near Redfern, New South Wales. The RSW left their worksite in the Eastern Suburbs Railway (ESR) tunnel at Platform 11, Redfern, to find a toilet. In attempting to find a toilet, the RSW entered an adjacent worksite on the concourse level at Redfern Station. The RSW was then directed by a worker through the worksite and on to Lawson Street, Redfern. The RSW utilised the public toilets at the station but, was prevented from returning to his worksite due to the concourse level worksite. In attempting to return to the worksite, the RSW entered the danger zone at Platform 10, Redfern, before walking towards Central Station. On arriving at the entrance to the airport tunnel, the RSW mistakenly entered the tunnel in the belief he could return to his worksite.

While in the tunnel, the RSW reported hearing a train approaching, moved clear of the track and clung to the wall of the tunnel just before train 89-K passed his location. Train 89-K came to an emergency stop. After the near miss with 89-K, the RSW quickly exited the tunnel and crossed in the path of a second train 88-C near the mouth of the Up side of the tunnel. Following the near misses, the RSW returned to Redfern Station via the same path and exited the station by the stairs at the Erskineville end of Platform 10. The RSW located the maintenance entrance to the Eastern Suburbs Railway tunnel and completed this shift without reporting the incident until the afternoon.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that the RSW had not been briefed on the concourse level worksite or the requirement to access Redfern Station from Marian Street before commencing work. The RSW entered Redfern Station from the Eastern Suburbs Railway tunnel without receiving or seeking a project site induction and left the protected area to find a toilet. The RSW attempted to return to his worksite believing he could locate the entrance from the city side of Redfern, and entered the airport tunnel, which was live at the time.

Following the near misses with 89-K and 88-C, the RSW returned to Redfern and entered the worksite undetected after locating the entrance off Marian Street. The RSW signed the project site induction record sheet, indicating he received an induction when he was not present.

What's been done as a result

The rail safety worker was removed from safe working duties by Sydney Trains following this incident and placed on restricted duties.

Sydney Trains advised that they acknowledge the safety issue and will follow their business processes to address the safety issue. Additionally, they advised a number of briefings were conducted following the occurrence to communicate lessons learned with the workgroup.

Safety message

This incident highlights the importance of planning and controlling worksites within the rail corridor, in particular, when working within tunnels and at platforms where access can be from multiple locations.

Workers must ensure that they receive the required safety briefing prior to undertaking work or entering a new work area, and seek further information if required prior to starting work. Workers are also advised to stop and find a safe place in the event they become lost or separated from their work group. Workers should also report incidents in a timely manner.

Download final report
[Download  PDF: 3.15MB]

The occurrence


Safety analysis


Safety issues and actions

Sources and submissions

Safety Issue

Go to RO-2018-021-SI-01 -

Sydney Trains’ Control of worksite access and egress

Sydney Trains' control of the access and egress to the project worksite did not ensure that all workers entering the worksite were identified and received an induction.

Safety issue details
Issue number: RO-2018-021-SI-01
Who it affects: All rail infrastructure managers
Status: Closed – Partially addressed
General details
Date: 08 September 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0907 AEST   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Sydney Airport Tunnel   Investigation phase: Final report: Dissemination  
State: New South Wales    
Release date: 30 June 2020   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Train 1 details

Train 1 details
Line operator Sydney Trains  
Train operator Sydney Trains  
Train registration 89-K  
Type of operation Passenger  
Sector Passenger - metropolitan  
Damage to train Nil  
Departure point Circular Quay, New South Wales  
Destination Macarthur, New South Wales  

Train 2 details

Train 2 details
Line operator Sydney Trains  
Train operator Sydney Trains  
Train registration 88-C  
Type of operation Passenger  
Sector Passenger - metropolitan  
Damage to train Nil  
Destination Central Station, New South Wales  
Last update 20 July 2020