Rail regulator, agency resort to dodgy tricks to greenlight new fleet
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW has condemned NSW Trains and the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) for throwing independence to the winds by allowing the same company that designed and tested the New Intercity Fleet to assess its safety for NSW passengers.
“Hyundai Rotem is responsible for creating the New Intercity Fleet. Of course their ignored the concerns of genuinely independent safety reports and declared their own trains are safe,” says Alex Claassens, Secretary of RTBU NSW.
“NSW Trains had a clear obligation to consult with the RTBU on changes to the accreditation process but failed to do so.
“After the sunk costs the NSW Government has poured into this disastrous fleet, from millions of taxpayer dollars spent resizing tunnels and altering safety regulations to accommodate their design, to years of delays and cost blowouts, it’s telling that they wouldn’t allow the safety assessment to be carried out by a genuinely independent body.
“Meanwhile rail safety experts Klaus Clemens Engineers have authored two reports detailing a laundry list of safety hazards with the train design and operating model, concluding they are unsafe in their current form.
“Vulnerable passengers, especially people with disabilities and children, are in greatest danger of injury on the New Intercity Fleet, as they are extremely hard for rail workers to see on the faulty CCTV system.
“The union has written to the ONRSR seven times with concerns about the assessment process and the safety issues identified, but the regulator has not addressed a single one of these issues.
“This is the second time Minister Constance has publicly announced the NIF will go into revenue service without providing any details to the public who must travel on them.
“While the Minister makes his flashy public statements, NSW Trains has taken the unprecedented step of suing its own employees, with the support of the NSW Government.
“It’s a disgraceful attempt to force rail workers them to crew a train that will put their passengers at risk.
“Transport workers will simply not allow that to happen until a genuinely independent safety accreditation has taken place and all safety hazards have been completely resolved.”