Safety implications of remote control of trains
Date issue released
Safety Issue Description

Although there were no previous accidents attributable to TasRail’s use of remote control equipment (RCE) over 19 years, TasRail did not identify or fully assess the safety implications of remotely-controlled train operations, or those of TasRail’s specific implementation. These included the:

  • potential for remote control equipment to fail to an unsafe state without external risk controls
  • suppression or absence of some safety functions of the TR class locomotive, including overspeed protection and some indications provided to drivers
  • non-recording of key data parameters to facilitate effective fault and incident analysis
  • increased risk of derailment as a result of motive power located only at the rear of the train.
Issue number
Issue Status
No longer relevant
Transport Function
Rail: Rolling stock
Issue Owner
Mode of Transport
Issue Status Justification

TasRail advised that it had withdrawn all remote-control technology. The withdrawal of all remote-control technology negates the need for safety action to directly address each aspect of the safety issue, including the need to record additional data parameters beyond those recorded by existing systems on the TR class locomotives. Accordingly, the safety issue is no longer relevant.

Proactive action
Action number
Action date
Action Status
Action description

On 15 July 2022 TasRail advised that it had withdrawn all remote-control technology.

See Management of safety-related change (RO-2018-014-SI-05) for additional safety action undertaken by TasRail to provide safety assurance to potential future operations involving remotely-controlled trains.