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NIF Update: The Regulator Has Failed Railway Workers

Jul 30, 2021Loco Express

Today members received a message from NSW Trains management celebrating the New Intercity Fleet receiving accreditation from the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR). This is an appalling failure of the agency tasked with keeping the railways safe.

ONRSR have ignored the RTBU

The RTBU has notified the regulator that we have not been notified nor consulted with in relation to the changes to NSW Trains’ accreditation. We also forwarded ONRSR documents and reports that demonstrate that the operating model is unsafe for passengers, particularly children and other vulnerable people. 

We have written to ONRSR SEVEN times and received NO RESPONSE

Under the Rail Safety National Law, NSW Trains had a clear obligation to consult with the RTBU on changes to the accreditation process, but it has failed to do so.  Remember, we wrote to ONRSR seven times.

Federal Court Proceedings

Let’s not forget that while NSW Trains and the NSW Government are making announcements of this nature, they are in the Federal Court seeking an injunction trying to force members to crew the NIF. No determination has been made, and an announcement like this is, at best, deliberately misleading and, at worst, reckless. 

Remember NSW Trains has made an undertaking to the Federal Court that if any member refuses to board the NIF on safety grounds before the matter is resolved will not face any adverse impacts. 

The Fine Print

Although the announcement implies that the NIF is safe and that is the end of the story, there is further detail that has been glossed over.

NSW Trains has only been accredited to run the NIF between Newcastle and Gosford and only with a second safety qualified person on the train. 

It is unfathomable that NSW Trains still won’t fix a simple design flaw that would allow a Guard to ensure the safe operation of trains on the network as they do today. 

What happens next

Whereas the NSW Government and NSW Trains seem to be making decisions based on ego and trying to justify their shonky overseas purchase, we know that RTBU members’ decisions will always be about safety. 

The safety of members and the travelling public is our priority.  Members will do whatever is necessary to ensure our railways are safe.

RTBU Officials and Delegates are working through what this announcement means and will be in touch as things escalate.

For safety, every single time. 


P.S You can find our media release responding to the announcement right here.

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