ARTC Extreme Weather Monitoring and Response (Amber and Red Alert)
Date issue released
Safety Issue Description

Although ARTC had procedures in place for monitoring and responding to extreme weather events, the process had significant limitations including:

  • The mechanism (email) for alerting operational personnel required to take action in response to amber alerts did not ensure that alerts were always identified or actioned in a timely manner.
  • The actions specified for amber and red alerts were insufficient to respond to escalating rainfall and flooding events, both forecast and actual.
Issue number
Issue Status
Open – Safety action pending
Transport Function
Rail: Infrastructure
Issue Owner
Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC)
Mode of Transport
Proactive action
Action number
Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC)
Action Status
Action description

In response to the draft report ARTC advised the following proactive safety actions were underway:

  • ARTC instigated a 7 Day look ahead weather forecast provided weekly by the BoM which is shared with ARTC's customers.
  • ARTC advised that they are undertaking a formal review of their extreme weather monitoring procedure.
  • ARTC initiated a project to develop a risk model to support real-time decision-making on operational responses to extreme wet weather events. The first stage of this project is to understand ARTC’s current operational responses to extreme wet weather events, and to assess the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement, having regard to contemporary wet weather incidents and current industry practice. Later project stages will involve the development of a risk model, along with the proposal of strategies to leverage the risk model to better inform ARTC’s management of extreme wet weather events. ARTC engaged a consultant to undertake this work and the first stage of the work is well advanced.
  • In December 2022, ARTC released a safety bulletin which increased the rainfall and flooding alerts by one category (i.e., red alerts treated as black alerts) as a preventative measure based on the cumulated conditions impacting on the network e.g., saturated catchments, La Niña weather pattern etc.
  • ARTC are investigating the potential of sending weather alerts directly to the customers.

ARTC are also increasing network control resources to provide additional controls for data management which would assist in the dissemination of alerts between Network Controllers and Rail Operators.

ATSB Response

The ATSB acknowledges that some proactive safety action has commenced and will monitor progress of their implementation.