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RTBU National office response to XPT derailment preliminary report

Apr 4, 2020News

The release of the Preliminary Report into the fatal derailment at Wallan in February establishes some key facts about the incident.

While we recognise it’s still relatively early in the investigation, we have some concerns that issues such as the condition of the track have been waved away as not ‘directly’ contributing to the incident.

If you were navigating a mine field, tripped over and broke a leg along the way, then you wouldn’t say the minefield had nothing to do with it.

That’s why it’s vital this investigation examines this incident in its full context – including:

  • track and signalling infrastructure along the Sydney to Melbourne corridor,
  • the existence different speed restrictions on the same section of track, and
  • the different SafeWorking rules that apply to trains in that corridor.

This tragedy must be seen as an opportunity to re-set rail safety in Australia, and to examine whether the current model of co-regulation is working.

A narrow investigation that only deals with so-called ‘direct’ factors will be unacceptable.

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