'My father didn't deserve to die that way'

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

The daughter of a New Zealand man killed when he was struck by a Sydney train says a "devastating'' report into his death shows her father didn't deserve to die that way.

Tamati Grant, 59, was cleaning tracks at Kogarah station when he was struck by a CityRail inter-urban train heading towards Sydney's central train station early on April 13, 2010.

A report from the New South Wales Office of Transport Safety Investigation, released on Wednesday, found a number of critical safety requirements were omitted before four track cleaners were allowed onto the tracks.

It found a RailCorp area controller and a protection officer with Mr Grant's team did not complete two key checks _ namely, to ensure the section of track was clear of rail traffic, and to ensure the required signal blocks had been applied.

The area controller had not activated the signal blocks when he told the protection officer he had, and the protection officer did not check the signal blocks were fully implemented before work began.

Mr Grant's daughter, Tracy Mihaere, said the report's release had been difficult.

"It's just devastating to read the findings and what happened, and the family feels that our father didn't deserve to die that way,'' she told APNZ.

"I can't say we're satisfied with it _ it's devastating to read why these things happened and the amount of errors that are in that report.''

Ms Mihaere said her father was still young and had been fit and healthy when he died.

"He was only 59 years' old. He had a grandson that he'd only just met, his grandson was only six months' old - his first and only grandson.''

The report said the other members of Mr Grant's team managed to scatter from the path of the train, but Mr Grant was fatally struck as he tried to climb onto the station platform.

It found the area controller had not identified that a train was in the section approaching Kogarah station and, when he became aware it was, asked for a warning to be broadcast over the station speakers, rather than contacting train authorities to have it stopped.

And in an earlier radio conversation, the area controller told the protection officer: "Righto mate, blocks are on.''

However, the signal blocks had not been activated, and the protection officer did not verify that they had.

The report noted the area controller had only recently returned from a lengthy period of leave, most of it sick leave for psychological conditions and drug rehabilitation.

He returned to full duties, but the report said there was sufficient evidence for clearance through a "triggered health assessment'' before full duties were restored.

The report made 13 recommendations to RailCorp and the contracting company that Mr Grant worked for.

Mr Grant's family is awaiting another report on the incident from Australia's Independent Transport Safety Regulator.

- APNZ

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