Rail safety report calls for improved planning

File photo / The Aucklander
File photo / The Aucklander

The need for better communication and planning has been highlighted following the near collision of a passenger train with a freight train last year.

A report released by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) says the Auckland incident highlighted the need for internal audits, forward planning and adequate communication.

In January last year, a north-bound freight train was supposed to have been stopped at a Papakura to allow for a passenger train to pass through a section of rail from the opposite direction.

Potential for a head-on collision was created after a signaller, under instruction from his manager, allowed the freight train to pass through the compulsory stop.

The manager of the signallers didn't know that the freight train was scheduled to stop to allow the passenger train to pass.

The signaller forgot about the passenger train coming down the line and gave the freight train a green light to continue its journey.

A collision was averted when a manager from a nearby worksite, who was working on the upgrade of a portion of track, saw the freight train blow through the scheduled stop.

The manager brought the matter to the attention of signallers, who resolved the situation before the south-bound passenger train entered the same section of track.

The TAIC found poor communication, the signal management system and monitoring of signaller performance all lead to the potential for a collision.


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