There was an unapproved practice occurring during Track Work Authority of asking the Outer Handsignaller to remove Railway Track Signals from the track as a train was closely approaching in order to let it run free, which placed the Outer Handsignaller at risk of being struck by the train.
Prior to the signal passed at danger (SPAD) occurrence in January 2018, Queensland Rail did not routinely and systematically analyse recorded data to determine driver compliance with key operational rules that had been designed to minimise the risk of SPADs.
After mandating the use of risk triggered commentary driving (in 2011) to mitigate the risk of signals passed at danger, Queensland Rail Citytrain did not provide the necessary support to its trainers, assessors and drivers to effectively maximise the potential benefits of the technique and minimise the potential limitations or risks associated with the technique.
The automatic warning system (AWS) provided the same audible alarm and visual indication to a driver on the approach to all restricted signals (that is, double yellow, yellow, flashing yellow and red aspects). The potential for habituation, and the absence of a higher priority alert when approaching a signal displaying a red aspect, reduced the effectiveness of the AWS to prevent signals passed at danger (SPADs). This placed substantial reliance on procedural or administrative controls to prevent SPADs, which are fundamentally limited in their effectiveness.
Queensland Rail’s management oversight of the Citytrain driver maintenance of competency (MOC) process did not include planned assurance activities or regular and effective auditing of how the MOC assessments were being conducted, even after there were multiple indications that the process was not being conducted as designed.
Pacific National’s inspection processes did not identify key structural points for inspection on RRYY class wagons, including the susceptibility to cracking in the junction between container loading outriggers, pull rod boxed opening, and the bottom centre sill sections. This reduced the likelihood of cracks being detected.
The ARTC systems for managing track lateral stability did not lead to the location being managed as a location potentially vulnerable to instability.
Pacific National's Freight Loading Manual did not require the use of radial unitising straps to prevent telescoping on jumbo coils where the thickness of the steel was greater than 2 mm.
Pacific National did not demonstrate that the load restraint system provided by demountable cradles carrying jumbo coils was safe and fit for purpose.
Pacific National's Freight Loading Manual did not require a combination of radial unitising straps on jumbo coils positioned such that a strap was always free from contact with the cradle. The provision of straps in this configuration would have reduced the risk of the coil telescoping in the event of strap breakage due to contact with the cradle.
Pacific National's Freight Loading Manual, specific to the loading and unitising of jumbo coils, did not require the use of rubber load mat on cradles. Consequently, there was no requirement to consider the condition of load mat during inspection and maintenance. This allowed the continued use of cradles without load mat, which decreased their effectiveness at restraining loads.
Neither Alstom’s validation processes nor fault monitoring processes were sufficient to detect the overcharging of batteries prior to the event.
Inspection records for the December 2010 wheelset maintenance activity and wheel change on wheelset number 7E5S 831444 were not available. It is a requirement specified in Pacific National's Wagon Maintenance Manual that records be retained for a period of 12 years.
Axle testing on wheelset number 7E5S 831444 was not carried out during the two most recent wheelset maintenance events in January 2016 and November 2016. It is likely the axle crack existed at the time of these maintenance activities.
Elements of the safety and environment management system are reliant on procedures being followed to manage safety risks. There is little scope for the system to recover when there has been a human error or other procedural error.
The system of placing protection flags on both ends of a train set does not provide a positive isolation of energy to ensure a train cannot be moved while it is being worked on.
The Skitube system for managing access to track did not detect the conflict of the rail maintenance worker under the train at the same time the train was being shunted.
VicTrack’s contractor, UGL Engineering Limited, did not provide signalling testers with specific instructions detailing the scope of work to be conducted at each stage of a project, but rather, only provided packaged isolation plans for the entire project. The absence of these instructions increased the risk of the works being incorrectly implemented.
Aurizon did not provide drivers with ready access to Queensland Rail’s procedures for driver only operations and overhead line equipment emergencies when they were operating on the Queensland Rail network. In addition, Aurizon did not have procedures for driver only operations that applied to its own network.
Aurizon did not have an effective system in place for ensuring personnel required to check the securing of unusual loads (such as empty flat racks) prior to departure had sufficient knowledge of their responsibilities, and had ready access to relevant procedures, guidance and checklists.