Rail safety investigations & reports

Safeworking irregularity at Robinson Road level crossing, Midland, Western Australia, on 14 July 2020

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress


Investigation progress update, published 20 April 2021

The ATSB investigation into the safeworking irregularity at Robinson Road level crossing, Midland, Western Australia, on 14 July 2020 is continuing and is currently in the evidence examination and analysis phase of the investigation.

This investigation update should be read in conjunction with the ATSB summary.

To date, the ATSB has:

  • interviewed members of the rail grinder work team
  • analysed the rail grinder scope of work
  • conducted analysis of data from event recorders and signalling infrastructure equipment
  • analysed the reasons for the level crossing activation and degraded level of protection
  • analysed the actions of the work crew
  • conducted preliminary analysis of training and human factor aspects
  • conducted an initial review of the rules and procedures for level crossing boom management and design
  • conducted a document review of local agreements and regulatory requirements
  • liaised with key stakeholders.

Due to the complexity of the investigation, and potential safety factors identified, the investigation scope has been expanded to defined.

Further investigation activity by the ATSB will involve analysis of:

  • safety management systems and network level crossing management
  • training requirements
  • policies, procedures and guidelines relating to level crossing boom management
  • local agreements and regulatory requirements.

Should any critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties, so that appropriate safety action can be taken.


The ATSB is investigating a level crossing boom irregularity on Robinson Road, Midland, Western Australia, on 14 July 2020.

A rail grinder entered into the Robinson Road level crossing activation zone and activated the level crossing. The rail grinder team were to spend some time working within this zone. Consequently, in order to prevent road traffic congestion, rail safety workers were sent to manage safe road travel over the crossing. The team latched the crossing boom arm in the ‘up’ position to allow road traffic to pass over the crossing. Upon completion of that work, the team handed back the track to train control.

At about 1140 Western Standard Time, a train travelled over the Robinson Road level crossing with only partial protections in place. The train crew notified train control that the boom gates did not lower, but the lights and bells were working.

As part of the investigation, the ATSB will obtain a report from the operator, interview the workers, and gather additional information.

General details
Date: 14 July 2020   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 1140 WST   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Midland   Investigation phase: Examination and analysis  
State: Western Australia    
  Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: None  
Anticipated completion: 3rd Quarter 2021    

Train details

Train details
Line operator ARC Infrastructure  
Train operator SPENO  
Train registration RR24M30A  
Type of operation Rail grinding  
Sector Other  
Damage to train Nil  
Destination Midland, Western Australia  
Last update 30 April 2021