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XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« on: February 20, 2020, 10:30:01 PM »
xpt derailment...

https://transportnsw.info/regional/regional-train-coach-facilities/xpt-regional-trains

Quote
A Sydney to Melbourne XPT service has derailed just outside of Melbourne, near Wallan, at around 8pm. Emergency services are attending the scene and no further information is available at this time. There were around 160 passengers on board. We cannot comment any further as police are investigating.

 Western services remain affected by line closures in the Blue Mountains. Some regional coach services also remain affected by road closures.
 Customers are requested to check this website or live apps for updates as conditions can change at short notice.
 We thank you for your understanding. View affected services by clicking this link NSW TrainLink travel alerts
« Last Edit: February 21, 2020, 09:31:47 AM by ozbob »

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XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2020, 12:43:41 AM »
Melbourne Age --> 'It was horrendous': Derailed train passengers were tossed around in crash


The scene after a Sydney to Melbourne XPT derailed, killing two people.


Quote
Two people are dead after the Sydney to Melbourne XPT train carrying 160 passengers came off the tracks in the town of Wallan about 45 kilometres north of Melbourne.

Passengers on the train said they believed the two people who died were in the driver's carriage.

The train, which had left Central Station in Sydney at 7.40am, had been due to arrive at Southern Cross Station in Melbourne at 6.30pm. It was running more than two hours late when it crashed around 7.50pm on Thursday.

Ambulance Victoria said one person was taken the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a stable condition, eight people were taken to the Northern Hospital and three to Kilmore Hospital with minor injuries.

Several passengers said the train was gaining speed at the time of the accident after being stopped due to a signalling issue.

Passengers described being thrown violently around inside the train as the diesel locomotive and at least four carriages careered off the tracks.

Passenger Rob Jennings said travellers were tossed around the carriage during the approximately minute-long period from when the train began to derail to when it came to a halt.

"It just veered off, and all the carriages smashed into one another," he said. "People were tossing around … there was some screaming - everyone was just grasping on, some in the brace position, preparing for the possibility of something worse."

Passengers said the driver had told them over the public address system that he would try to make up time for earlier delays.

Leon, who did not want his surname used, also said the the train was stopped minutes before the crash, with staff saying a signalling issue was causing delays.

After the accident Leon, who has experience in rail transport, said he walked back to where he thought the train had derailed.

He said the tracks were set to divert the train onto an adjacent parallel side track. Leon said signals should have alerted the driver to slow down to be able to move into the side track, but he did not notice the train slowing prior to the derailment.

"If the driver knew that, and the signalling told him that, there's no way he would have been travelling at the speed he was travelling at," Leon said.

"You have to slow down at that point ... And this train didn't."

Peter Crouch, 64, was travelling on the train to Melbourne after finishing his trucking shift in Albury.

When the train derailed, Mr Crouch was flung from his seat and across the carriage.

"I nearly ended up going out through the window on the other side," he said.

"We're going at speed, and all of a sudden the whole bloody thing just goes sideways, and people go everywhere, me included. It was horrendous."

One man on scene at the time of the derailment said train staff and more able-bodied passengers were helping those with minor injuries off the damaged carriages while others ran to try and free the driver.

"The train workers and conductors were pretty frantic trying to get into the locomotive. Everyone was trying to smash the window but it’s designed not to break," he said.

"The walking wounded have been able to walk up to the BP, which is about 200 metres away, and they’re being triaged there in the carpark. I reckon I saw about 100 people there."

At 11pm, almost all passengers had either been transferred to hospital, picked up by relatives or friends, or taken back to Melbourne on three buses.

Police and emergency services had blocked access to the crash site.

Service disruptions

All Seymour and Shepparton V/Line services were suspended until further notice and the nearby Catholic school will be closed on Friday.

Photographs of the derailment show several carriages removed from the tracks, with the front carriage rolled over onto its side.

It is unclear how the train derailed, but V/Line had warned earlier on Thursday that the service to Albury was delayed because of a rail fault.

The Border Mail reported on Thursday that north-east train travellers were being asked to allow an extra 60 minutes for trips after a signal hut at Wallan was destroyed by fire earlier this month.

The Border Mail reported that passengers have experienced lengthy delays, including up to 100 minutes in some instances with V/Line and Australian Rail Track Corporation having differing opinions on when repair works will be completed.

Federal Transport Minister Michael McCormack and his Victorian and NSW counterparts Melissa Horne and Paul Toole released a joint statement saying they were "working closely to support all those involved in the incident".

"Our thoughts are with all those involved and their loved ones," the statement said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is sending investigators to the site on Friday morning.

An ARTC spokesperson said services were suspended until further notice to allow emergency services to respond to the train derailment.

"We are working hard to support emergency services, NSW TrainLink and investigators to respond to this tragic accident," the spokesperson said.

Previous issues
A freight train also came off the tracks in Wallan in 2017 and last month a passenger and freight train crashed at Barnawatha near Albury, but no one was hurt.

In December, Infrastructure Australia knocked back a proposal to have an upgrade of the line from Melbourne to Albury placed on the nation's priority infrastructure list.

It found the Australian Rail Track Corporation's business case for the $198 million project "materially overestimated" the community benefits from the works.

The business case noted that Victoria's regional trains had a self-imposed speed limit of 15km/h on the entire line from Melbourne to Seymour, which includes Wallan, due to "poor track quality" such as mud holes and tight rail alignments.
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XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2020, 01:18:57 AM »
Couriermail --> Two people killed in horror Sydney-Melbourne train derailment


The incident occurred near Wallan. Picture: Twitter/Rickard_Scott

Quote
A train driver and co-driver are dead after a Sydney to Melbourne train derailed near Wallan. A passenger on board the train, which was running almost two hours late at the time of the crash, has revealed the driver told travellers he would try to make up time.

A train driver and co-driver are dead and dozens of passengers injured after a Melbourne-bound express running late from Sydney derailed 45km north of Southern Cross Station on Thursday night.

Passengers have said the driver told them over the public address system he would try to make up time before the train carrying 160 people and five crew flew off the tracks near Wallan about 7.45pm.

Passenger Joan Marks told the Herald Sun the train had been running behind schedule, with several delays.

“We stopped for a bit then he really took off,’’ she said.

Passengers described being thrown violently around inside the train as the diesel locomotive and at least four carriages careered off the tracks.

Shocked and bruised passengers climbed out of the wrecked train onto the tracks, while a triage centre was set up at a nearby petrol station and ambulances began ferrying the injured to hospital.

Maintenance had been done on the track in recent days, and all trains were travelling through the Wallan loop.

Ambulance Victoria confirmed one of the injured had been flown to a Melbourne hospital and another four people were being taken to Northern Health hospital at Epping, where they were in a stable condition.

“A number of others will be taken to hospital with minor injuries,” Ambulance Victoria said.

The train is believed to have left Sydney’s Central Station at 7.40am and was running up to two hours late at the time the accident happened.

It had been due to arrive into Southern Cross Station at 6.30pm. Uninjured passengers began arriving into the station on buses about 10.30pm.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau launched an investigation and investigators were due at the site today.

The track is operated by the Federal Government-owned Australian Rail Track Corporation, and Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack was being briefed on the incident on Thursday night.

One passenger described items flying through the air as the train derailed, and “suddenly slid into a fast stop”.

Dr Scott Rickard said the “carriage (was) at an angle” and “tray tables went flying”.

“Fortunately only a few ppl (sic) injured in our carriage,” she said on Twitter.

“Stuff flew everywhere. ­Carriages crumpled at edges. We walked out. Most people able to walk out

“We’re in a bit of shock, but OK. Drinking cuppas now,” she added.

The aerodynamic Express Passenger Train (XPT) travels between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Dubbo, Grafton and Casino, and travels at a top speed of about 160kmh. Fire crews and ambulances were still at the scene on Thursday as emergency services worked to clear heavy wreckage around the tracks.

Ms Marks, 74, said the derailment “felt like we just went flying”. She and twin sister Ivy Bell, from Leeton in NSW, got on in Wagga and were headed to Melbourne to visit family. She said the journey didn’t get off to the best start and was running behind schedule.

“It wasn’t a real good ride when we got on,” she told the Herald Sun at the scene.

“Then we left Seymour, we stopped for a bit then he really took off.” She said there had been a sudden jolt.

“Just like that it was off the rails, there were cases everywhere, I’ve never seen anything like it before’” she said.

“I’m not sure if he was making up time because he was running late but it came off the rails all of a sudden.

“We were an hour and a half late as it was. We had to stop just outside Seymour because of the signals. He (the driver) did say over the speaker he was going to try to make up time.”

In December, Infrastructure Australia ruled that the business case for an upgrade of the Melbourne-Albury North East Rail Line should not be ­included on its priority list.

One man aged in his 70s said staff on the train had told passengers during a delay that there were ongoing problems with the track and asked those on board to lodge complaints.

He said “heads should roll” over the derailment, adding: “I just hope someone gets a kick in the pants over this, because it has not just happened, it’s been ongoing.”

Canberra man James Ashburner, 69, was sitting by the window in the first passenger carriage when the train derailed.

He said it had been travelling “at 100-odd km/h and then things went strange”.

“There was a lot of noise and suddenly there was dust, the train was swaying a lot,” he said.

“I didn’t realise that we had derailed until we came to a stop.

“Initially we were all just stunned, people went flying, stuff went flying. A couple of people had been standing in the aisle and they really went flying.

“For some minutes we were just milling about seeing who needed assistance and what sort of assistance.”

Mr Ashburner said that the woman seated in front of him suffered a blow to the back of her head and was bleeding profusely just behind the ear.

“It was just oozy blood, she had a serious cut,” he said.

One passenger has described items flying everywhere as the train derailed, and “suddenly slid into a fast stop”.

Passengers who were on the train started arrive at Southern Cross station just after 10:30pm.

Many expressed their relief with some met by emergency services coming off the replacement coaches.

Melbourne man, Toby told the Herald Sun that the accident was “very scary”.

“Basically we came off the side of the tracks,” Toby said.

“I was fine luckily I didn’t get hit and everyone on my carriage was okay.”

A couple from Burwood also spoke of the crash saying they’re just “relieved” to be home

“We just felt the train skid along and go sideways and we went into trees,” they told the Herald Sun.

“The SES, police and ambos were fantastic,

“But everyone was good, everyone was positive and calm, there was no panic,

“We are just happy to be breathing.”

The Public Transport Users Association’s Daniel Bowen described the crash as an “awful thing”.

“Our thoughts are with those affected by this,” he said.

“There will be an investigation in due course into the cause.

“Thankfully serious accidents on the rail network are very rare, but that makes it even more important to investigate the cause.”
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XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2020, 06:21:19 AM »
https://twitter.com/ozbob13/status/1230530223407386624
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XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2020, 09:30:09 AM »
Sydney Morning Herald --> V/Line drivers avoided track section where deadly Wallan train derailment occurred

Quote
Victoria's rail union says V/Line drivers had refused to traverse the section of track where a Sydney to Melbourne XPT train derailed in Wallan on Thursday night, killing two rail workers.

As investigators comb through the twisted wreckage of the derailed train that was carrying 153 passengers, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union claims the accident occurred on a section of track that was awaiting maintenance, prompting V/Line drivers to avoid it over the past week.

"The RTBU is deeply saddened by the tragic accident that has taken the life of two rail workers and unnecessarily injured many more," the union said.

The train driver, a 54-year-old man from ACT, and co-driver (or 'pilot'), a 49-year-old woman from Castlemaine, both died in the crash.

Public Transport Minister Melissa Horne and V/Line CEO James Pinder arrived at Wallan on Friday morning.

Victoria Police officers are stationed at either end of the stretch of 600 metres of train line around the crash site.

CFA and SES members scoured the tracks and surrounding scrub in grey, blustery weather conditions.

The train has not been moved from the position where it derailed, with the front locomotive carriage remaining on its side. Orange tarp is now covering the overturned driver’s compartment.

Rail safety investigators from three different agencies have been deployed to the site to determine the cause of the derailment, while technical specialists from Canberra and Sydney are also set to arrive.

Staff from the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator started their search for answers on Thursday night and are being joined on Friday morning by specialists from interstate.

A team from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau are also at the scene, carrying out a joint investigation with Victoria's Chief Inspector of Transport Safety.

The train, which had left Central Station in Sydney at 7.40am, was running more than two hours late when it crashed about 7.50pm on Thursday on the way to Southern Cross Station in Melbourne.

A triage service was set up at a nearby petrol station car park and 12 people were hospitalised. One person was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a stable condition, eight people taken to the Northern Hospital and three to Kilmore Hospital with minor injuries.

About 20 people remain unaccounted for, with police urging anyone who evacuated before emergency services arrived, or who had a booking but did not travel, to contact authorities to list themselves as safe.

Several passengers said the train was gaining speed at the time of the accident after being stopped due to a signalling issue.

Passengers described being thrown violently around inside the train as the diesel locomotive and at least four carriages careered off the tracks.

Passenger Rob Jennings said travellers were tossed around the carriage during the approximately minute-long period from when the train began to derail to when it came to a halt.

"It just veered off, and all the carriages smashed into one another," he said. "People were tossing around … there was some screaming."

Passengers said the driver had told them over the public address system that he would try to make up time for earlier delays.

Leon, who did not want his surname used, said the the train was stopped minutes before the crash, with staff saying a signalling issue was causing delays.

After the accident Leon, who has experience in rail transport, said he walked back to where he thought the train had derailed.

He said the tracks, which police said were badly damaged following the crash, were set to divert the train onto an adjacent parallel side track. Leon said signals should have alerted the driver to slow down to be able to move into the side track, but he did not notice the train slowing prior to the derailment.

"If the driver knew that, and the signalling told him that, there's no way he would have been travelling at the speed he was travelling at," Leon said.

"You have to slow down at that point ... And this train didn't."

Acting Inspector Peter Fusinato, of Victoria Police, said on Thursday night it was too early to say whether signalling faults or any other factor played a role in the accident.

He said the investigation would look into the train’s speed and braking data, as well as signalling information.

"[With] 153 passengers, the outcome was probably far better than what you would have anticipated … we’re very fortunate," Inspector Fusinato said.

Responding to reports a first responder shattered his hand trying to free the driver from the driver's cabin, Inspector Fusinato said "heroic" acts of bravery would emerge from the incident.

One man on scene said people were helping others off the damaged carriages while some ran to try and free the driver.

"The train workers and conductors were pretty frantic trying to get into the locomotive. Everyone was trying to smash the window but it’s designed not to break," he said.

At 11pm, almost all passengers had either been transferred to hospital, picked up by relatives or friends, or taken back to Melbourne on three buses.

Service disruptions

All Seymour, Albury and Shepparton V/Line services were suspended until further notice and the nearby Catholic school will be closed on Friday. Police said it may take days to clear the tracks.

It is unclear how the train derailed, but V/Line had warned earlier on Thursday that the service to Albury was delayed because of a rail fault.

The Border Mail reported on Thursday that north-east train travellers were being asked to allow an extra 60 minutes for trips after a signal hut at Wallan was destroyed by fire earlier this month.

The Border Mail reported that passengers have experienced lengthy delays, including up to 100 minutes in some instances with V/Line and Australian Rail Track Corporation having differing opinions on when repair works will be completed.

Federal Transport Minister Michael McCormack and his Victorian and NSW counterparts Melissa Horne and Paul Toole released a joint statement saying they were "working closely to support all those involved in the incident".

"Our thoughts are with all those involved and their loved ones," the statement said.

The NSW rail authority is responsible for the management of the train involved, while the Australian Rail Track Corporation manages the rail line.

An ARTC spokesperson said services were suspended until further notice to allow emergency services to respond to the train derailment.

"We are working hard to support emergency services, NSW TrainLink and investigators to respond to this tragic accident," the spokesperson said.

Previous issues
A freight train also came off the tracks in Wallan in 2017 and last month a passenger and freight train crashed at Barnawatha near Albury, but no one was hurt.

In December, Infrastructure Australia knocked back a proposal to have an upgrade of the line from Melbourne to Albury placed on the nation's priority infrastructure list.

It found the Australian Rail Track Corporation's business case for the $198 million project "materially overestimated" the community benefits from the works.

The business case noted that Victoria's regional trains had a self-imposed speed limit of 15km/h on the entire line from Melbourne to Seymour, which includes Wallan, due to "poor track quality" such as mud holes and tight rail alignments.
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2020, 09:34:52 AM »
Sincere condolences to the family, workmates, friends and acquaintances of the deceased rail crew,

from all at RAIL Back On Track.

Rest In Peace ..
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2020, 10:27:24 AM »
https://twitter.com/3AW693/status/1230612821596966912
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2020, 10:45:38 AM »
ABC News --> Sydney-to-Melbourne train derailment at Wallan happened on stretch of track awaiting maintenance, union says

Quote
Key points:
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union said the track had been awaiting maintenance

Authorities will investigate whether a recent fire at a signalling facility is linked to the derailment

Trains between Melbourne and the state's north experienced regular delays in the past week

The XPT train, which was carrying 153 passengers, was travelling from Sydney to Melbourne when it derailed at Wallan shortly before 8:00pm.


Victoria's transport union says train drivers from the state's regional rail service had been refusing for the past week to traverse a section of track where a Sydney-to-Melbourne train derailed last night, killing two people.

The train's driver, a 54-year-old ACT man, and train pilot, a 49-year-old Castlemaine woman who worked for Skilled Rail Services, were killed.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) said it was "deeply saddened by the tragic accident that has taken the life of two rail workers and unnecessarily injured many more".

"The Sydney to Melbourne XPT train derailment near Wallan Station last night occurred over a section of track over which was awaiting maintenance," RTBU state secretary Luba Grigorovitch said in a statement.

"Conditions were altered and V/Line drivers rightly refused to traverse this section over the past week."

The president of the Rail Futures Institute, John Hearsch, told AM a fire at a signalling facility close to the accident site had recently affected signalling between Donnybrook and Kilmore East.

"So I'm sure the ATSB [Australian Transport Safety Bureau] will be looking very closely at that to see whether there's a link between the signalling problems, the set of points at the entrance to the crossing loop and the accident," Mr Hearsch said.

Passenger Leyon Gray said the train derailed just minutes after taking off again after sitting stationary on the tracks.

"They [staff] said we could be there for half an hour because the signals were malfunctioning," he said.

"And the train got going and we were probably doing 80 or 90 [kilometres] an hour.

"Next thing we were thrown out of our seats."

V/Line had reported several delays between Albury and Southern Cross stations in recent days due to an "ongoing track fault".

Shortly after 4:00pm yesterday, the Seymour V/Line Twitter account said the 12:45 Albury to Southern Cross service would be delayed by approximately 70 minutes due to an "ongoing rail equipment fault near Wallan".

'Too early to speculate' on cause
National Rail Safety Regulator chief executive Sue McCarrey told ABC Radio Melbourne that works underway on the line would be among a range of factors examined by investigators.

Key to the investigation would be the speed limit on the track at the time and the speed of the train, which would have been recorded by the train's data log.

"It's very early days to speculate on what the causes actually are," Ms McCarrey said.

She said two rolling stock experts and a signalling engineer were among the team of investigators already out on site.

Ms McCarrey said she was aware of media reports that the driver told passengers over the public address system ahead of the crash that he was going to try to "make up time".

"Again, that's something else to look at as part of the investigation," she said.

"We will be interviewing a number of people to try and determine what the actual facts are what was said over the PA at the time."

However, she added that drivers could not exceed speed limits set by the safety management system which varied due to factors including the condition of the line and weather conditions.


https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/11987634-3x2-700x467.jpg

This image shows 4 tracks.  The two lines to the bottom of the photograph are the broad gauge double mainline (5' 3").

The two lines to the top are standard gauge.  The top most is the loop.  The other intact standard gauge line is the main line (single line except for the passing loops).

It is clear that the XPT was diverted onto the loop at speed (~ 100 km/h).  The speed limit to go on to the loop is 40 changed to 15 km/h.  How that occurred will be at the core of the investigation.

The RTBU had concerns with the loop and that is why their members refused to traverse it.

This image from a video shows clearly the XPT was directed onto the loop


From https://www.9news.com.au/national/train-derailed-wallan-victoria/e70953a7-27c8-4fca-92bd-3331729c9559?ocid=Social-9NewsB
« Last Edit: February 21, 2020, 05:22:28 PM by ozbob »
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2020, 04:16:35 PM »
Melbourne Age --> Driver could have been in the dark about speed limit before fatal crash

Quote
A train that crashed north of Melbourne on Thursday, killing two people, is believed to have been travelling about 100km/h before it derailed on a section of track with a 15km/h speed limit.

A V/Line circular sent to drivers on Wednesday stated that trains travelling between Donnybrook and Kilmore East on the North East line connecting Sydney and Melbourne, would be diverted through the 15km/h Wallan Loop on Thursday.

However, well-placed sources in the rail industry suggest that the 54-year-old male XPT driver from the ACT, and the pilot, a 49-year-old from Castlemaine who identified as a man – who both died in the incident – may have been unaware of this change, as the train was travelling about 100km/h when it approached the passing loop.

This change was in place between 2:30pm and 9:30pm on Thursday - and the train derailed about 7:50pm.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said he was "not aware" of complaints by drivers about the safety of the section of the track where the XPT train derailed with 153 passengers on board.

"No authority in Australia would allow a train to travel on an unsafe track. That just wouldn't happen," he said.

As investigators combed through the twisted wreckage of the derailed train The Rail, Tram and Bus Union issued a damning statement claiming the accident happened on a section of track that was awaiting maintenance, prompting V/Line drivers to avoid it over the past week.

"The RTBU is deeply saddened by the tragic accident that has taken the life of two rail workers and unnecessarily injured many more," the union said.

The Age has been told that the Australian Rail Track Corporation, which runs the federally-funded line, was due to fix ongoing signalling problems on the line by the end of this week.

V/Line chief executive James Pinder said the section of track was a "particularly complicated part of the infrastructure" because V/Line trains run alongside XPT trains.

"There are separate signalling systems for the different tracks," he said.

Mr Pinder said V/Line was operating on the track on Thursday, before the Sydney to Melbourne service derailed.

V/Line had warned earlier on Thursday that the service to Albury was delayed because of a rail fault.

The Border Mail also reported on Thursday that north-east train travellers were being asked to allow an extra 60 minutes for trips after a signal hut at Wallan was destroyed by fire earlier this month.

The Victorian and federal governments late last year announced a $235 million upgrade to the line would begin in 2020.

Public Transport Minister Melissa Horne said she had written to the Australian Rail Track Corporation to continue with works on lines in the region after a freight train derailed at Barnawartha three weeks ago.

Victoria Police officers were stationed at either end of the stretch of 600 metres of train line around the crash site.

Emergency crews, including from CFA and SES, scoured the tracks and surrounding scrub in grey, blustery weather conditions until about 10am.

The train has not been moved from the position where it derailed, with the front locomotive carriage remaining on its side. Orange tarp is now covering the overturned driver’s compartment.

Rail safety investigators from several agencies have been deployed to the site, with the cause to be probed by the National Rail Safety Regulator, Australian Transport Safety Bureau, WorkSafe and Victoria Police.

Greg Hood, from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said a preliminary report would be released within 30 days.

The train, which had left Central Station in Sydney at 7.40am, was running more than two hours late when it crashed about 7.50pm on Thursday on the way to Southern Cross Station in Melbourne.

A triage service was set up at a nearby petrol station car park and 11 people were hospitalised in a stable condition with minor injuries. A man in his 60s was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, seven people were taken to the Northern Hospital and three went to Kilmore Hospital.

About 20 people remain unaccounted for, with police urging anyone who evacuated before emergency services arrived, or who had a booking but did not travel, to contact authorities to list themselves as safe.

Several passengers said the train was gaining speed at the time of the accident after being stopped due to a signalling issue.

Passengers described being thrown violently around inside the train as the diesel locomotive and at least four carriages careered off the tracks.

Passenger Rob Jennings said travellers were tossed around the carriage during the approximately minute-long period from when the train began to derail to when it came to a halt.

"It just veered off, and all the carriages smashed into one another," he said. "People were tossing around … there was some screaming."
Passengers said the driver had told them over the public address system that he would try to make up time for earlier delays.

Leon, who did not want his surname used, said the the train was stopped minutes before the crash, with staff saying a signalling issue was causing delays.

After the accident Leon, who has experience in rail transport, said he walked back to where he thought the train had derailed.

He said the tracks, which police said were badly damaged following the crash, were set to divert the train onto an adjacent parallel side track. Leon said signals should have alerted the driver to slow down to be able to move into the side track, but he did not notice the train slowing prior to the derailment.

"If the driver knew that, and the signalling told him that, there's no way he would have been travelling at the speed he was travelling at," Leon said.

"You have to slow down at that point ... And this train didn't."

Acting Inspector Peter Fusinato, of Victoria Police, said on Thursday night it was too early to say whether signalling faults or any other factor played a role in the accident.

He said the investigation would look into the train’s speed and braking data, as well as signalling information.

"[With] 153 passengers, the outcome was probably far better than what you would have anticipated … we’re very fortunate," Inspector Fusinato said.

Responding to reports a first responder shattered his hand trying to free the driver from the driver's cabin, Inspector Fusinato said "heroic" acts of bravery would emerge from the incident.

One man on scene said people were helping others off the damaged carriages while some ran to try to free the driver.

"The train workers and conductors were pretty frantic trying to get into the locomotive. Everyone was trying to smash the window but it’s designed not to break," he said.

At 11pm, almost all passengers had either been transferred to hospital, picked up by relatives or friends, or taken back to Melbourne on three buses.

Police will prepare a report for the coroner. ...
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2020, 04:38:56 PM »
^

" ... A train that crashed north of Melbourne on Thursday, killing two people, is believed to have been travelling about 100km/h before it derailed on a section of track with a 15km/h speed limit.

A V/Line circular sent to drivers on Wednesday stated that trains travelling between Donnybrook and Kilmore East on the North East line connecting Sydney and Melbourne, would be diverted through the 15km/h Wallan Loop on Thursday.

However, well-placed sources in the rail industry suggest that the 54-year-old male XPT driver from the ACT, and the pilot, a 49-year-old from Castlemaine who identified as a man – who both died in the incident – may have been unaware of this change, as the train was travelling about 100km/h when it approached the passing loop.

This change was in place between 2:30pm and 9:30pm on Thursday - and the train derailed about 7:50pm. ... "


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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2020, 04:59:41 PM »
The track is controlled by ARTC with multiple operators one of which advised there drivers to travel at 15kph sounds like to many chiefs to me where the infrastructure manager should have been doing that but also the pilot should have known being a ARTC pilot and not new trainlink employee sounds like a very colluded operation

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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2020, 05:11:10 PM »
The track is controlled by ARTC with multiple operators one of which advised there drivers to travel at 15kph sounds like to many chiefs to me where the infrastructure manager should have been doing that but also the pilot should have known being a ARTC pilot and not new trainlink employee sounds like a very colluded operation

It is terrible.  Seems like a communication breakdown has lead to the death of the two rail crew.  It is hard to understand that the driver would have been travelling at an accelerating 100 km/h if he had known about the loop train order.  No doubt the ATSB will examine this in detail.  The loop would be protected by signals as well?  Maybe they were not operating due to the destruction of the Wallan signal box in the bush fires recently.

The NE line has been a basket case ever since ARTC took it over.  In the broad gauge days it was in great shape.  ARTC put a request into IA recently for funding for improvements.  The ARTC business case was so poor IA rejected it.
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2020, 05:29:17 PM »
It does not sound good and yes signals would be protecting the "station limits" for movements on the main and into and out of the loop if the signals were out due to the hut fire I would have thought the points would be "clipped and locked" in the field by the gangs and trains running on forms or staff and ticket or train order working why the pilot did not know is the biggest question I have as when I pilot rail traffic we are telling the driver about local conditions restrictions and route to be taken then you add in Vline telling there own crews one thing but what about all the other operators on that section what was ARTC doing they manage the track so sounds like a very big basket case. In queensland all operators have access to aurizon qr notices for speed restrictions closures and such

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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2020, 01:00:54 AM »
Melbourne Age --> 'A jolt, then crashes': Passengers recount train horror

Quote
The train was running about two hours late and retired Canberra statistician James Ashburner was looking forward to arriving in Melbourne ahead of a baby shower for his nephew’s child when the wheels left the track.

He had been enjoying the trip, despite the delays, before it came to a sudden and juddering halt.

"We were belting along, pretty much full speed and then there was a jolt and all these grinding sounds and thumps and crashes and bangs," the 69-year-old says.

"I didn't realise what was happening was a derailment until we stopped."

The derailing of the Express Passenger Train at Wallan, about 45 kilometres north of Melbourne, would leave a 54-year-old train driver John Kennedy and his 49-year-old co-driver dead, as well as cast a spotlight on the safety and reliability of travelling by rail between Australia’s two biggest cities.

Investigators are now piecing together what caused the disaster, the main question being why the train was travelling at 100km/h when it should have been going 15km/h as it approached a passing loop track.

It was just before 8pm on Thursday when Nathan Anderson, the local CFA brigade captain, saw the pager message come through.

"Train derailed," the text said. "500-1000 metres north of Wallan railway station."

He jumped in his car and rushed to the scene, not knowing quite what to expect when he reached the stretch of track just out of town.

When he heard it was a passenger train which had left Central Station in Sydney about 12 hours earlier, he braced for the worst case scenario.

"We thought we’d be dealing with more fatalities than what actually occurred," he says.

"It’s unfortunate that it was two deaths but it could have been 153."

The Melbourne to Sydney line has always had complications. For more than 100 years, passengers were forced to change trains at Albury on the border until a single-track standard-gauge line was built.

When that happened in 1962, it began an exciting new era of non-stop trains linking the rival cities.

That was followed with promises of a fast rail network which would bring Australia into line with places like Europe and Japan.

With fast rail as far off as ever, passengers who take the journey through Benalla, Wagga Wagga, Junee and Goulburn are often plagued by delays due to conditions on the track.

On this night, tempers on board were frayed leading up to the crash.

A recent signal box fire not far from the crash site had added more than 60 minutes to the trip from Albury alone.

Staff were as frustrated as the passengers by what was happening. They encouraged complaints to management so something might be done.

"When I got on there was evidently people who were very angry, demanding a refund," says Estelle Cooper, who boarded the train at Albury.

"There was a lot of dissatisfaction during the whole trip."

Near Seymour, there was yet another delay, as a voice came over the PA to say the train would be stopped for about 40 minutes. About 15 minutes after the train started moving again, it crashed.

Ms Cooper, 76, chose to take the train to remember her "long lost youth", when she caught the Southern Aurora train from Melbourne to Sydney.

Travelling to Melbourne to see her son, she was sitting in seat 17 in passenger car B towards the front of the train. She had kept herself busy doing the crossword and reading.

"I’m not used to travelling on trains but it had been a rather rough bumpy ride," she says.

"And all of a sudden the train was swaying from side to side and we realised it had come off the tracks."

The person sitting next to Ms Cooper fell out of her chair and into the corridor. In the same carriage was Mr Ashburner, the retired statistician who had joined the trip at Yass Junction in NSW.

A minute earlier he was eating a pie and listening to an audiobook, then he looked up to see baggage shooting along in the overhead racks.

"As soon as we came to rest, things quietened a lot," he says. "Then it was people checking on each other."

As passengers stumbled off the train, emergency services started arriving, including SES, firefighters, police and paramedics.

"The first initial page there was nothing to say it was a freight train or passenger train," says Mr Anderson from the Wallan CFA.

"In my mind I thought we would be there late into the next morning with an incident like that."

In the end, the number of casualties was far lower than emergency services anticipated. Aside from the two deaths, eleven people were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

About half an hour after the train derailed, about 100 shaken passengers began arriving at a nearby BP service station on the Hume Freeway, about 200 metres away.

There was a chill in the air that wouldn't have been out of place in June, rather than February.

Confused by what had happened, the passengers were told by police that replacement buses would be coming to collect them. Some were being triaged in the carpark. By 11pm, they had left.

"They were just really frightened, no one came in who was injured," a worker says.

"They just wanted to sit down, charge their phones and get food and coffee."

Finley Arkless had intended to drive down to Melbourne to see some friends until his Subaru Impreza broke down.

Sitting in a window seat on the train, he was joking with the woman opposite about what they could ask for as compensation for the delays.

"Then all of a sudden the train just started rattling and it all happened," the 21-year-old chef says.

"We noticed that the train completely came off the tracks. There were people screaming and crying in the carriage."

When the doors opened, Mr Arkless jumped down on to the tracks to see what had happened.

Seeing the locomotive had tipped on its side and people were trapped, he rushed to the front and tried to use a fire extinguisher to smash the window.

"I was doing it for about 10 minutes, cut my hand up a little bit, but we couldn’t get him out in time," he says.

"I think he passed away shortly after. There wasn’t much we could really do."
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2020, 01:14:39 AM »
Herald Sun --> Community reacts to driver John Kennedy’s shock death in train smash

Quote
A beloved husband and father has been remembered as a “good-hearted soul” and a “top bloke” after dying in the Wallan train disaster.

Canberra man John Kennedy, 54, died alongside his 49-year-old pilot, from Castlemaine, in the devastating incident.

The Australian railway community was on Friday mourning over the loss of their colleagues who died on the job.

Junee man Kevin Schultz, who had known John Kennedy for more than a decade, said he was a “good bloke” who would be sorely missed.

“He was a good operator and a good-hearted soul,” Mr Schultz said.

“He was always ready for a laugh.

“He was a good driver, a top bloke all around.”

Mr Kennedy worked out of NSW TrainLink’s Junee depot and away from work was a mad Sydney Swans fan.

Mr Schultz said Mr Kennedy’s death would have a ripple effect through the railway community.

“When we lose our own, we all feel it, it is like losing part of your family,” he said.

“We are trying to do our jobs and get home safely, unfortunately one of our brothers has not gotten home.

“When we lose a comrade, all of us Aussie drivers feel it. It is a tragedy.”

Rail, Tram and Bus Union National Secretary Mark Diamond said driver and pilot were both respected by their peers.

“The two workers who were killed were both popular and highly respected members of the rail community,” he said.

The country town of Castlemaine was on Friday in shock that one of their own had been killed in the crash.

Locals said it was a “terribly sad” loss while others said a derailment was “unheard of” in this day and age. Outside one home, an Australian flag flew at half mast.

The town of almost 7000 people has a proud rail history, with an authentic steam tourist railway still in operation.

A NSW TrainLink spokesman said their “hearts go out” to the families of the two ­victims.

“This will be an exceptionally difficult time for them, and we will support them in any way that we can,” the spokesman said.

INJURED HOME FROM HOSPITAL
The 12 passengers taken to hospital with injuries after Thursday night’s horror train smash at Wallan have all been sent home from hospital.

A man who was taken by ambulance to Royal Melbourne Hospital was discharged at noon on Friday.

The Northern Hospital in Epping last night confirmed all eight passengers who
were taken there with minor injuries had been discharged.

A spokeswoman said the patients were aged from their mid 40s to early 90s.

Three people who were treated at Kilmore Hospital were also released.

A number of senior staff returned to the Northern Hospital on Thursday night after news broke of the train disaster to help deal with the influx of patients.

Northern Health Emergency Services director Cindy Joffe said the team worked in conjunction with Ambulance Victoria.

“I’m proud of the fantastic staff at Northern Hospital who launched into action and initiated our incident preparedness,” she said.

“Executive, medical and nursing staff ensured the emergency department
was a safe environment for any patients that were due to arrive.

“I would also like to acknowledge our rural Ambulance Victoria colleagues that kept us well informed so we were ready to provide the best care for the patients.”

An ambulance helicopter was on standby at the train crash scene but was not required.

The XPT train Mr Kennedy was driving derailed at Wallan about 7.45pm on Wednesday, killing the ACT local, and the train’s pilot, a 49-year-old Castlemaine man.

Dozens of passengers were injured.

The Sydney-Melbourne train — a NSW TrainLink Regional service — was required to use the loop because of maintenance on the line which is under the control of the Australian Rail Track Corporation.

Signalling systems in the area had also changed after a fire at the signalling hut at Wallan earlier this month.

Industry insiders told the Herald Sun the crash could likely have been caused by a communication breakdown that meant the train had not slowed down to the 15kmh limit on the loop.

The train was travelling on a separate track to the line used by Victoria’s V/Line services, which had been of concern to the Rail, Tram and Bus Union in the past week.

One train had been temporarily halted by a V/Line driver due to concerns about signalling last week. The signalling issues had been expected to take up to a month to fix.

The shutdown in signalling along that part of the railway meant drivers were required to have a second-person “pilot” in the train’s cab to assist with navigation.

This is not required on parts of the network where signals are working normally and some regulators also require drivers to travel at much slower speeds while this system is in place.

V/Line drivers over the past week had refused to drive along the corridor where the crash happened, about 50km north of Melbourne’s CBD.

National Secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union Mark Diamond said the community was devastated over the loss of train driver John Kennedy.

“Mr Kennedy was a popular and highly respected member of the railway community,” Mr Diamond said.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union state secretary Luba Grigorovitch said the section of track was awaiting maintenance.

“Conditions were altered and V/Line drivers rightly refused to traverse this section over the past week,” she said.

“The RTBU is deeply saddened by the tragic accident that has taken the life of two rail workers and unnecessarily injured many more.

“Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy, from other rail workers, affected passengers and the family and friends of all those grieving from this incident.

“Today marks a difficult day for drivers and rail workers across the state and the RTBU will be here not only to offer support but to ensure a thorough investigation is undertaken.”

People who knew Mr Kennedy shared expressed their grief on Friday night.

“He was a great man, well respected by the railway,” Ebony Innes wrote on social media.

“You will be sorely missed.”

V/Line chief James Pinder said he was not aware of drivers who refused to drive over the stretch of track.

“V/Line was operating on this track yesterday,” he said. “This is a particularly complicated part of infrastructure V/Line tracks operate right alongside ARTC tracks.

“I’m not aware of those comments that have been made this morning (regarding drivers refusing to drive the track).

“A lot of comments have been made in response to this incident.

“Our thoughts at the moment are with the people who have been tragically affected by this incident and support the investigation into this incident and making sure we get to the bottom of it.”

Nationals deputy leader Steph Ryan, who has been campaigning for the upgrade of the track for the past five years, also arrived at the tragic scene at Wallan this morning.

The Shadow Minister for Regional Public Transport said the stretch of track had been plagued with issues in recent years, but especially in the past few weeks.

“I have people approaching me on a weekly, almost daily basis with stories of delayed or cancelled trains along this section of the track,” she said.

“We hadn’t had a tragic outcome like this in recent decades and it’s gut wrenching that we’ve had a derailment.

“Obviously, the safety investigations need to run their course and you can’t pre empt what they might find but we do know that this section of the track has been the cause of big delays in the V/Line service over the last couple weeks.

She added: “Drivers have raised concerns with me about the state of the track over the years, I know they’ve raised them with the union and I believe they’re raised them directly with V/Line as well. I’ve raised them with the government basically every week in parliament for years.”

TRACK ‘SAFE’ TO TRAVEL ON
Visiting the scene this morning, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack insisted the track were the train derailed was safe to travel on, despite the “tragic” incident.

Minister McCormack said: “No authorities would ever let a train travel on an unsafe track, I want to make that very clear.

“Of course engineering scopes and safety checks are conducted on tracks, whether they are state-run tracks or whether they are ARTC tracks.

“That happens all the time to ensure passenger and public safety is first and foremost.

He continued: “This is a tragic incident. Of course we will be making investigations as to the condition of the track and as to whatever else might have happened last night.”

ATSB Chief Commissioner Greg Wood said the transport watchdog would be probing whether the train was adhering to the speed limit when it left the tracks.

“All of that, the interviewing of witnesses will take place from now on. Things like the speed limit will be examined,” he said.

“All the evidence will be gathered and examined over the next week or so. We’re only just beginning our work this morning.”

The train was running more than an hour late. It had been due to arrive at Southern Cross Station at 6.30pm.

In December, a contract was awarded for a $235 million project to upgrade the line.

Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne confirmed maintenance works were due to begin on the stretch of track.

“I understand that there were works that were starting,” she said. “They were as part of the ARTC works that were kicking off.”

When asked what was happening with the maintenance at the time of the incident, she added: “That will be part of the investigation. The investigation is just starting today, it will be absolutely comprehensive.

“All the agencies at a federal and state level will work together to make sure the victims’ families have the answers they deserve.”

It is understood both V/Line and the union had agreed on slower speed limits than the Australian Rail Track Corporation had recommended.

Concerns were raised about track degradation in that area.

Meanwhile, NSW regional transport minister Paul Toole confirmed the whole XPT fleet was due to be replaced, with some trains running on the service for almost 40 years.

“We’ve already said we’re going to be replacing out XPTs. We have brand new XPTs that are going to be rolling out in 2023,” he said.

“Some of these trains are 38 years old so they’ve well and truly served their purpose over that time in regional communities.

“I just want to make the point that at Train Link, safety for our passengers and crew is a priority. This is devastating. Two lives have been lost … My heart goes out to these families.”

When questioned about issues with the punctuality and performance of the Sydney-Melbourne service, Mr Toole said: “There are various factors. Sometimes we see track work, sometimes we see changes, things happen to signalling — this is all part of trains.

“Of course we want to see them operating because that’s what the customer experience is all about — having trains run on a timetable that is going to be kept.

We’re always looking at ways to improve that but there are circumstances that are beyond our control from time to time that mean they can’t run to that time table.”

TRAIN LINE’S HISTORY OF ISSUES
Before yesterday’s crash, the Border Mail reported V/Line and the ARTC had differing views about when the signal hut in Wallan destroyed by fire could be repaired.

V/Line expected the work to take up to a month but ARTC had said the signalling system would be functioning this weekend.

The ARTC had said trains running through the corridor were required to run in “degraded mode” operations at 25kmh, and V/Line trains had also been running at reduced speeds in the area.

“The loss of the signalling system and the need for a complete rebuild of the signal relay hut meant potential delays of more than 120 minutes per train service as a result of the requirement to run in ‘degraded mode’ operations at 25kmh,” an ARTC spokesperson told the Border Mail.

“In response, ARTC consulted with its customers and has invested tens of thousands of dollars a day in an interim train authority system while repairs are undertaken.

“This is a safeworking system to allow trains to run at normal operating speed but includes stopping at Donnybrook and Kilmore East.

“It has reduced delays for freight and passenger customers travelling through this section.”

An ARTC spokesperson said the fatal derailment was tragic and the focus was on supporting emergency authorities and transport agencies in their investigation and response to the incident.

The Victorian coroner, Office of the National Safety Regulator and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau were at the site today.

“Firstly, our thoughts are with the loved ones of those who have sadly passed away and with affected passengers,” the ARTC spokesperson said.

It comes after a freight train collided with a V/Line service on January 29 after it derailed from the tracks close to the NSW border at Barnawartha, 240km north of Wallan.

After the collision, 19 people were evacuated from the passenger train. There were no injuries.

Commenting on the freight crash, Mr Pinder said: “That previous incident was investigated, not technically by V/Line because it wasn’t technically a V/Line incident. It involved a freight train operated on ARTC’s infrastructure.

ARTC provided assurance that the track was safe to reopen and the track reopened, he said.

“My understanding is that there’s a number of avenues of inquiry for that investigation. It’s still ongoing and I’ve got every confidence that the ARTC will get to the bottom of that,” Mr Pinder said.

“What I can say now is that’s a totally separate incident from this incident, it happened on a separate part of the infrastructure and involved a freight train.” ...

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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2020, 01:20:58 AM »
The Australian --> Sydney-Melbourne train wreck probe centres on signalling fault

Quote
Catastrophic human and system failure sparked by a recent fire at a train signalling hut will be at the centre of investigations into the Sydney-Melbourne rail crash that claimed two lives and injured 11 others on Thursday.

Investigations will focus on conversations between the train’s pilot and controllers as the passenger locomotive was allegedly told to slow to a maximum 15km/h before entering the so-called ­Wallan crossing loop, about 50km north of Melbourne.

The high-speed XPT train was supposed to maintain this low speed limit to enable it to cross tracks without crashing, sources said, but witnesses believe it was travelling significantly faster, possibly at more than 80km/h.

Sources familiar with the investigation said the train’s pilot would normally be told of the need to enter the loop at no more than 15km/h and exit at a maximum of 35km/h. Both the pilot and the driver were killed.

The pilot, a 49-year-old man from the Goldfields town of Castlemaine, was travelling with the driver as part of temporary measures forced due to a recent fire that destroyed a nearby signalling hut.

The driver has been identified as 54-year-old Canberra man John Kennedy, who had extensive experience across the NSW train industry.

There were up to 160 passengers and crew aboard the train when it derailed about 7.45pm.

There were reports on Friday that passengers heard the driver announcing over the train’s public address system that he would try to make up time in the delayed journey to Melbourne’s Southern Cross where it had been due to ­arrive at 6.30pm.

The crash has reignited debate about safety on the Melbourne-to-Albury section of the line as it derailed where a goods train overturned in 2017 and comes after a decade-long row about the standard of the track and signalling infrastructure.

There have been at least two ­derailments on the Albury-to-Melbourne Australian Rail Track Corporation corridor in the past year.

Victoria’s regional rail line ­operators posted several warnings on Thursday about long ­delays due to an “ongoing rail equipment fault near Wallan’’.

On January 29, a goods train derailed between Chiltern and Barnawartha, about 235km northeast of Wallan.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau records show a goods train derailed in November 2017 as it ­entered the Wallan crossing loop.

In that incident, the ATSB’s ­investigation found the “track alignment” and the “degraded” condition of some sleepers in the area were contributing factors.

The ARTC had also been conducting maintenance at the site on Thursday afternoon, which meant the XPT was delayed by at least 90 minutes before the derailment.

Rail industry insiders said the condition of the track was “awful” and had been for years, pointing to a 2010 ABC TV 7.30 series in which train drivers described the Sydney-Melbourne line as “a disaster waiting to happen”.

They described subsequent maintenance practices as “terrible” and “Band-Aid solutions”.

Others have complained of unstable tracks caused by mudholes.

Sources familiar with this week’s investigation have said the main concerns relate to what ­information was passed to the driver by the pilot, who sat in the locomotive because the Wallan signalling hut was out of action. Fire earlier this month knocked out the signalling, leaving operators to manually call the train’s pilot and deliver instructions.

Deputy Prime Minister ­Michael McCormack rejected suggestions on Thursday that a faulty track was to blame for the disaster.

“I reiterate no authority would let passengers travel on unsafe track,” he said. “We will ensure that proper answers are found for the bereaved families and making sure these sorts of things don’t happen again.”

Victorian Nationals MP Stephanie Ryan had raised concerns about the line with state Public Transport Minister Melissa Horne in state parliament on Tuesday.

“I’ve been campaigning for ­action on the line for more than five years,’’ Ms Ryan told The Weekend Australian on Friday. A $235m federally funded upgrade for the entire northeast line between Melbourne and the NSW border is due to begin in weeks.

The ATSB will give a preliminary report on the crash in a month, before a final version in 18 months.

The ARTC recently said a fallen power line was to blame for the fire at the Wallan signal relay hut, causing extensive damage to its power supply, internal wiring and circuitry and affecting all signalling infrastructure for 30km around Wallan.

Some V/Line drivers had ­refused over the past week to travel­ the corridor where the crash happened, their union said.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union state secretary Luba Grigorovitch said the section of track was awaiting maintenance.

“Conditions were altered and V/Line drivers rightly refused to traverse this section over the past week,” she said.

However, V/Line chief executive James Pinder disputed the union claim, saying the agencies services were “operating on this track” on Thursday.

Victoria Police’s Inspector Peter Koger said on Friday morning that he was amazed more people weren’t killed or seriously injured. “I think we’re very lucky,” he said.

“It’s a tragedy that unfortunately the pilot and driver were killed in the incident, but I’m amazed that the passengers weren’t at least injured or worse than what they were.

“To have only 11 passengers out of 153 with minor injuries is amazing.”

Those who knew Mr Kennedy said he had previously been based in Eveleigh in Sydney, but was working from a depot in the NSW Riverina town of Junee at the time of the crash.

Transport for NSW secretary Rodd Staples said Mr Kennedy was “very experienced” and well-regarded among his colleagues.

“As I’ve talked to TrainLink staff who did know him today, (their sentiments were) about their sense of pride in who he was, his passion as a train driver,” Mr ­Staples said.

“It was the thing he loved to do. He was a very, very experienced driver and very well regarded, and he will be greatly missed.”
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2020, 01:39:40 AM »
.  Signalling hut at Wallan was burned a few weeks ago, no normal signalling for 30 km around Wallan

.  Trains running on authorities changed conditions, hence the pilot in the cab.

.  Driver and Pilot should have been advised of the changed conditions at Wallan and the requirement to enter Wallan loop at 15km/h and leave no faster than 35 km/h.

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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2020, 04:52:28 AM »
Hey Bretto.  Thinking about this some more.  If the signalling is out, and the main line was directed into the loop for a period, should / would there have been TSR signs in place on the main line out from the loop?   This would be a back up if the other communications failed.

I note Queensland Rail puts out the red boards during track closures etc.
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2020, 09:02:24 AM »
Not to sure with victoria or nsw but when there is issues such as this with signals here the track would be under alternate proceed authority  which is a written form issued to the driver or pilot and has info such as level crossings with flag man the last train to go through and where it is at time of issue and permitted speed over the section if that section is still with the controllers if they put a work on track authority on which in this case we would use a track work authority the running of rail traffic through the section is managed by a Protection Officer this one has a lot of holes in procedures from what the media is putting out same as the Christmas eve accident in WA not much makes sense by looking at available info

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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2020, 11:12:53 AM »
Thanks.  There will be an interim report from ATSB in 30 days which might shed some light as to what went on behind the scenes.
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2020, 01:47:27 PM »
Discussions on railpage have said that all signals where boarded up, and that train orders where in place.

I'm no expert on reading the train notices posted, but it looked like the main was in use, then clipped and padlocked over to the loop that afternoon. The time delay might have caught the pilot out.

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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2020, 02:04:44 PM »
Yes. The loop was planned to be in use and main closed between 2:30pm and 9:30pm on Thursday ( the XPT  derailed about 7:50pm ) there was advice of this on Wednesday.  Train orders would state this surely?

I find it difficult to understand how this very significant planned route change was not communicated to the XPT Driver and Pilot.  I doubt very much that they ignored or otherwise misunderstood.

The ATSB will examine what the communications were with the train crew no doubt. 

The other thing I  don't understand is why there appears be no temporary speed restriction boards were in place on approach to the loop north and south of the loop particularly as signals were not in use.   Had these TSRs been in place the driver would have slowed the train, even if not aware by train order.   Maybe they have done away with such fundamental even if historical safety systems.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2020, 02:51:26 PM by ozbob »
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2020, 02:47:25 PM »
This is another ATSB report of a train traversing the points into the Wallan loop at over-speed  in 2015 and surviving.

A Vline Albury passenger service hit the points into the loop at 97km and stayed upright.  Some passengers were thrown from seats and injured however.  This was in the opposite direction to the XPT on Thursday though.

(For those not aware the VLine Albury passenger services use the standard gauge line through Wallan). 

Report is here: Over-speed of V/Line passenger train 8625 over points at Wallan loop Wallan, Victoria on 11 July 2015

https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2015/rair/ro-2015-011/

« Last Edit: February 23, 2020, 09:52:00 AM by ozbob »
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2020, 11:32:16 AM »
Brisbanetimes --> Derailed train to be winched off the tracks at Wallan

Quote
A train which derailed on Thursday night, leaving two drivers dead and 11 passengers injured, will be winched off the tracks at Wallan on Sunday.

Investigators says they have now completed an on-site probe into the tragedy, with some of the locomotive units and passenger carriages to be removed from the area using heavy machinery, before they are relocated for more damage assessments.

A number of functional carriages will be placed back on the tracks and connected to the locomotive unit at the back of the train, which was undamaged, before being transported by rail.

The Sydney to Melbourne XPT service was carrying 153 passengers at the time it came off the tracks around 500 metres away from the Wallan train station.

John Kennedy, a 54-year-old XPT driver from the ACT, and the train's pilot, a 49-year-old from Castlemaine, died in Thursday night's derailment.

Crews have been sent from Sydney to assess whether segments of the train could be reused, such as the diesel locomotive unit at the rear of the XPT which remained on the tracks.

A media spokesperson for Transport NSW said the current level of damage to the train was unknown and, once preliminary assessments are completed, the train will be transported back to New South Wales.

"The process is going to take a number of days, it does depend on a number of factors ... access to the site is quite difficult," the media spokesman said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) have completed "the majority of their on-site evidence collection work" at the site as of Saturday, a media spokesman confirmed.

"The ATSB released the track back to the infrastructure manager, ARTC, on Friday evening, and the rolling stock back to the train owner, Sydney Trains, on Saturday morning," the ATSB spokesman said.

A major operation is underway to right several carriages following the derailment which killed two people in Wallan

The train is believed to have been travelling at about 100km/h before it derailed on a section of track with a 15km/h speed limit.

A V/Line circular sent to drivers on Wednesday stated that trains travelling between Donnybrook and Kilmore East on the North East line connecting Sydney and Melbourne would be diverted through the 15km/h Wallan Loop on Thursday.

Investigators from Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra are still probing whether potential issues with the track infrastructure and signalling problems contributed to the incident, and have obtained the train data logger from the vehicle and maintenance records for the train and tracks.

A preliminary report on the derailment will be released in mid-March, while the final investigation report will be made public in 18 months' time.

A V/Line spokeswoman said regional train services on the Seymour, Albury and Shepparton lines would remain shuttered indefinitely and it was “too early” to tell when the services would return.
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2020, 12:06:42 PM »
ARTC: Wallan Incident Advice

https://www.artc.com.au/2020/02/20/wallan-incident-advice-20-february-2020-1130pm-aedt/

Latest update:

Wallan Incident Advice #4 – Repair and Recovery – updated 23/02/20 12:00pm (AEDT)

Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is working with Transport for NSW who are managing the recovery and safe removal of the train carriages and locomotives today.

At 6.30am this morning, ARTC and contractors John Holland and Johnson and Yong Cranes established site set up with three cranes under way at 8.30am conducting the first lift.

Cranes will take approximately seven lifts to remove the carriages and locomotives from the track.

This work will continue throughout the coming three days, reflecting the complexities of the recovery.

Over the next few days equipment including sleepers, rail and signalling equipment will be delivered to the site to repair the rail infrastructure once the XPT is removed.

On Tuesday, we expect to begin the repairs to the track and signal infrastructure which was damaged in the accident.

The site is being carefully controlled to ensure the safety of all those who are now involved in the site recovery and repair.

We acknowledge that the community seek to understand what caused the accident and that’s why we are providing full support to the ongoing investigation which will look at all potential factors.

ENDS
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2020, 01:00:17 AM »
Sydney Morning Herald --> Wallan train crash 'could have been avoided': Rail Union

Quote
The train derailment that killed two drivers and injured 11 passengers could have been avoided if the Sydney-to-Melbourne XPT had been operating under Victorian instead of national rules.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union has said that rules set by the national authority, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) had removed the first line of defence which could have prevented the tragic accident on Thursday.

Victorian rail operator V/Line and Metro Trains Melbourne impose an automatic speed restriction of 25km/h along dangerous areas of track that require a train driver to be navigated by a co-driver, called a pilot.

RTBU Victoria secretary Luba Grigorovitch said "if the ARTC imposed the same speed restrictions under pilot that are applied by MTM and V/Line the incident may have been avoided".

The national rules allowed the train to travel on dangerous track at main line speeds instead of the mandatory 25km/h required under the Victorian rules.

The ARTC changed the route for trains through Wallan from the main line to a passing 15km/hloop line on Thursday. In early February, the Wallan signal box was damaged by fire, extinguishing signals along that section of the rail line which could have warned an oncoming driver to slow down.

The RTBU said the line continued to operate at full speed under a pilot to navigate the XPT through that section of the line. The Victorian rules would have automatically imposed an automatic speed restriction of 25km/h along that section of rail.

A Track Authority notice was issued on Thursday calling for a 15km/h speed restriction on trains entering the passing loop at Wallan where the train came off the tracks at an estimated speed of up to 100 km/h.

The union acknowledged a range of factors including human error could have contributed to the accident, but believes the Victorian rules may have prevented the derailment. The union said the Melbourne to Sydney track had been neglected and was known as "the goat track" because of its poor condition.

A rail insider said that if the train was operating at 25km/h along the Wallan loop line, the worst case scenario would have seen the train "hit the dirt and we would have had a couple of bruises and bumped heads". "Regardless of the signal fault, the human factors, the weather or whatever, that would have controlled that situation adequately," the insider said.

The ARTC declined to comment on the union's claims until it had more time to consider them.

The ARTC started working on Sunday with Transport NSW, which operates the XPT service, to clear the crash site at Wallan.

Investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau spent Saturday examining the scene of the derailment, looking at the maintenance of the train and railway as well as signalling data.

Early on Sunday morning three cranes were set up to begin the first lift of the wreckage in an operation that will take up to three days.

Cranes will take approximately seven lifts to remove the carriages and locomotives from the track.‘‘Over the next few days equipment including sleepers, rail and signalling equipment will be delivered to the site to repair the rail infrastructure once the XPT is removed,’’ an ARTC spokesperson said.

‘‘Early this week we expect to begin the repairs to the track and signal infrastructure which was damaged in the incident.’’

Investigators say they have now completed an on-site probe into the tragedy, with some of the locomotive units and passenger carriages to be removed from the area using heavy machinery, before they are relocated for more damage assessments.

A number of functional carriages will be placed back on the tracks and connected to the locomotive unit at the back of the train, which was undamaged, before being transported by rail.

The Sydney to Melbourne XPT service was carrying 153 passengers at the time it came off the tracks around 500 metres away from the Wallan train station.

John Kennedy, a 54-year-old XPT driver from the ACT, and the train's pilot, a 49-year-old from Castlemaine, died in Thursday night's derailment.

Crews have been sent from Sydney to assess whether segments of the train could be reused, such as the diesel locomotive unit at the rear of the XPT which remained on the tracks.

A media spokesperson for Transport NSW said the current level of damage to the train was unknown and, once preliminary assessments are completed, the train will be transported back to NSW.

"The process is going to take a number of days, it does depend on a number of factors ... access to the site is quite difficult," the media spokesman said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) have completed "the majority of their on-site evidence collection work" at the site as of Saturday, a media spokesman confirmed.

"The ATSB released the track back to the infrastructure manager, ARTC, on Friday evening, and the rolling stock back to the train owner, Sydney Trains, on Saturday morning," the ATSB spokesman said.

A V/Line circular sent to drivers on Wednesday stated that trains travelling between Donnybrook and Kilmore East on the North East line connecting Sydney and Melbourne would be diverted through the 15km/h Wallan Loop on Thursday.

Investigators from Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra are still probing whether potential issues with the track infrastructure and signalling problems contributed to the incident, and have obtained the train data logger from the vehicle and maintenance records for the train and tracks.


A preliminary report on the derailment will be released in mid-March, while the final investigation report will be made public in 18 months' time.

A V/Line spokeswoman said regional train services on the Seymour, Albury and Shepparton lines would remain closed indefinitely and it was “too early” to tell when the services would return.

Buses are set to replace all Seymour, Shepparton and Albury train services until further notice.

" ... Victorian rail operator V/Line and Metro Trains Melbourne impose an automatic speed restriction of 25km/h along dangerous areas of track that require a train driver to be navigated by a co-driver, called a pilot.

RTBU Victoria secretary Luba Grigorovitch said "if the ARTC imposed the same speed restrictions under pilot that are applied by MTM and V/Line the incident may have been avoided".

The national rules allowed the train to travel on dangerous track at main line speeds instead of the mandatory 25km/h required under the Victorian rules. ... "


^ exactly.  That what was I was querying previously above.  I cannot understand why there was not TSRs in place.   Now I know sadly.

ARTC is a basket case ..

====

https://twitter.com/9NewsMelb/status/1231475002878431232
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2020, 01:16:23 AM »
Herald Sun --> Wreckage of the derailed XPT train at Wallan to be moved as investigations into the crash continue

Quote
Differing rules between rail carriers has emerged as a key issue in the inquiry into the fatal derailment of the XPT Sydney-Melbourne train at Wallan.

The Australian Rail Track ­Corporation has taken control of the crash site, bringing in cranes and other equipment to clear the carriages and begin repairs.

Two people were killed when the train left the tracks on Thursday night — its 54-year-old driver John Kennedy, from the ACT, and his 49-year-old pilot from ­Castlemaine.

The train drivers’ union said doubts remained about speed restrictions on the line, which had been affected ­earlier by a signal box fire.

Rail Tram and Bus Union Victoria secretary Luba ­Grigorovitch said that if the ARTC imposed the same speed restrictions as were ­applied by Melbourne Metro and V/Line “the incident may have been avoided”.

“We need some commonality between the different carriers, whether it be Metro, V/Line and also ARTC,” Ms ­Grigorovitch said.

“To be changing the rules for each company I don’t think is good enough.”

The circumstances around an order diverting the train to a passing loop line will also be central to the official ­inquiry.

On Thursday, ARTC moved trains from the main line to the loop line.

Ms Grigorovitch would not comment on whether the pilot was aware of the line change and slower speed limit, and if the driver had been told.

Many drivers described the section under investigation as bumpy and called it a “goat track”, she said.

“I’m told a number of drivers did not want to drive along these tracks from V/Line and that they were given different routes. They ­believed the track condition was not what it needed to be.”

Three cranes would be used for the complex clean-up effort, an ARTC spokesman said.

“Equipment including sleepers, rail and signalling equipment will be delivered to the site to repair the rail ­infrastructure once the XPT is ­removed.”

Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said she would not speculate whether live signal testing was being done at the time of the crash.

“The most important thing is to let the investigation take its course,” she said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator are investigating.

Asked if the government would ­review the state of ­regional rail tracks, Ms Allan said it would wait for the ­derailment report.

“V/Line and the ARTC are working together to do some site investigations and ­reviews in order to return trains to that corridor in a safe way,” she said.

Services will be disrupted while the ­repairs are done.
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2020, 07:26:35 AM »
Melbourne Age --> Friend of train driver says he raised concerns about poorly maintained rail network

Quote
The driver of the Sydney-to-Melbourne train which derailed last Thursday night had emailed his friend with concerns about the safety of the line in the weeks leading up to the deadly crash.

Driver John Kennedy, and the train's pilot, died in the XPT carrying 153 passengers when it derailed at Wallan, north of Melbourne.

Mr Kennedy had shared his concerns about the poorly maintained rail network with a friend, Clive Williams, in an email on February 3.

"...my last six Melbourne return trips have been very late or cancelled mainly due to train fault issues, 3 of the six runs I was down to one engine, on another trip I had no speedo and the only trip without a train fault was disrupted by the big derailment last week," Mr Kennedy's email sent to Mr Williams read.

Mr Williams, a Canberra rail enthusiast and law professor, said he would never share the contents of a private email, but believes the exceptional circumstances and safety concerns this situation raised warranted its release.

"John said he half expected to be derailed the first few times he went to Melbourne because of the violent sideways movement on some sections of the track. But he assumed the speed limit had been set by engineers who had calculated the safe speed for trains using those sections,” he said.

Mr Williams, who has been campaigning for a fast train service in Australia, said he rode the XPT with Mr Kennedy many times, including from Albury to Melbourne in late November. He said Mr Kennedy, 54, from Canberra, had expressed concerns about the condition of the track, signals system and ongoing maintenance problems with the 1980s XPTs.

"Parts of the Albury to Melbourne track were just appalling. The sideways movement in some areas was extreme," Mr Williams said.

Describing the Sydney to Melbourne line as a poorly maintained "goat track", the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) said the derailment may have been avoided if the XPT had been operating under Victorian rules, instead of national.

Victorian rail operator V/Line and Metro Trains Melbourne impose an automatic speed restriction of 25km/h along dangerous areas of track that require a driver to be navigated by a co-driver, called a pilot. National rules allow trains to travel at main line speeds instead of the mandatory 25km/h required under the Victorian rules.

Mr Williams said he sent a text message to Mr Kennedy to check he was all right after hearing of the derailment.

"My subsequent reaction was one of anger that federal and state government mismanagement had allowed this to happen," Mr Williams said.

The RTBU said rules set by the national authority, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) had removed the first line of defence against the accident.

RTBU Victoria secretary Luba Grigorovitch said "if the ARTC imposed the same speed restrictions under pilot that are applied by MTM and V/Line the incident may have been avoided".

The ARTC changed the route for trains through Wallan from the main line to a 15km/h loop line on Thursday. In early February, the Wallan signal box was damaged by fire, extinguishing signals along that section of the rail line which could have warned an oncoming driver to slow down before getting to the loop line.

A Track Authority notice was issued on Thursday calling for a 15km/h speed restriction on trains entering the loop at Wallan where the train came off the tracks at an estimated speed of up to 100km/h.

A rail insider said if the train was operating at 25km/h along the Wallan loop line, the worst case scenario would have seen the train "hit the dirt and we would have had a couple of bruises and bumped heads". "Regardless of the signal fault, the human factors, the weather or whatever, that would have controlled that situation adequately," the insider said.

The union acknowledged a range of factors could have contributed to the accident but said the track had continued to operate at full speed under a pilot whereas the Victorian rules would have automatically imposed an automatic speed restriction of 25km/h.

The ARTC declined to comment on the union's claims until it had more time to consider them. An ARTC spokesman said cranes would start removing damaged carriages from the Wallan track on Sunday.

A Transport for NSW spokeswoman said its crews were on site and working with investigators and the ARTC and "will not enter into a running commentary or speculation on any matters related to this incident".

"While we all wish to understand the cause, a thorough investigation is ongoing and we do not wish to make any further comment at this time," she said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said it had completed "the majority of their on-site evidence collection work" at the site as of Saturday. "The ATSB released the track back to the infrastructure manager, ARTC, on Friday evening, and the rolling stock back to the train owner, Sydney Trains, on Saturday morning," an ATSB spokesman said. A preliminary report will be released in mid-March with a final report due in 18 months.
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2020, 07:39:25 AM »
https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/projects/north-east-rail-line

Infrastructure Australia: North East Rail Line

The North East Rail Line project is to upgrade rail track between Melbourne and Albury/Wodonga to a Victorian Class 2 performance standard. It includes upgrading supporting rail infrastructure.

The business case was accepted for Infrastructure Australia's assessment on 8 March 2019.

On 3 December 2019, Infrastructure Australia has evaluated the business case for the North East Rail Line and concluded that the project, as it is currently presented, should not be included on the Infrastructure Priority List at this time.

Infrastructure Australia recognises the importance of good-quality regional rail transport to give people genuine travel choices and equitable service levels. However, while the underlying rail service problems may be locally or regionally significant, the current cost of the problems are not nationally significant. Furthermore, while the business case states that the costs of the project are slightly higher than its benefits, our analysis found that the benefits to the community were materially overestimated.

North East Rail Link evaluation summary (PDF: 258.05 KB)

====

JUNE 21 2019

V/Line stops hot drinks sales between Albury and Wangaratta because of staff safety dangers posed by poor railway track

https://www.bordermail.com.au/story/6233071/rough-tracks-mean-tea-and-coffee-off-vline-menu/

====

FMD.  IA and ARTC   what a bunch of fukwits ..
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2020, 08:56:59 AM »
https://twitter.com/RailExpressNews/status/1231713227324588032
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #30 on: February 24, 2020, 11:40:28 AM »
Canberratimes --> Opinion: Death of dedicated train driver John Kennedy was an avoidable tragedy

Quote
John Kennedy, 54, the well-respected Canberra-based XPT driver who was killed in the derailment near Wallan, was a victim of many years of government neglect of our railway system. The only possible consolation is that John died doing the work he loved best - which was train driving. John had been a senior manager with NSW railways, but took a redundancy to become a train driver.

I first met John in early 2017 while organising a town hall meeting at the ANU to try to get the Canberra-Sydney rail system upgraded. A guest speaker was Guillermo Martinez, director of the Spanish fast train company, Talgo Trains. I had invited Guillermo to come to Canberra to help lobby ACT and federal government agencies for a better service.

Talgo offered to provide a faster train service to Sydney for $100 million, with an initial test locomotive provided at Talgo's expense. Some track work would have been required, but Talgo tilt-train technology can adapt to less than ideal conditions. Anyway, that all went nowhere beyond superficial federal and local government expressions of interest.

At the time, John asked me if I would like to make some runs with him in the XPT cab between Canberra and Sydney to get a better appreciation of the sector. Over the next two years, I did that on several occasions at different times of day.

There are three train services a day between Canberra and Sydney, taking just over four hours for the 286-kilometre journey. The slow average speed of the XPT on this run (under 70km/h) is largely due to variable speed limits, having to wait for clearance to continue, and the nine stops between Canberra and Sydney Central. If the train is running behind time, it can be further delayed near Sydney by higher-priority suburban trains on the same line. Even so, the Canberra-Sydney XPT train ran on time 92 per cent of the time in 2019-2020.

The driver's cab on the XPT is quite small with two seats and no seat belts. Sometimes you have to hang on because of rough sections of track. The sideways and up-and-down movement is much more accentuated in the cab than it is in the carriages. The XPT is reasonably reliable in the way that a Mack truck is reliable, but it's an old work horse dating from 1982 and suffers from arthritic creaks and groans and parts that are wearing out.

XPT train staff are dedicated and hard-working but have to cope with 1980s technology and early 20th-century rail infrastructure.

I recently watched a television documentary, Mighty Trains, featuring Japanese Shinkansen electric bullet trains. What a contrast! A Shinkansen train is regularly overhauled involving complete dismantlement. Every two weeks, a special yellow train known as "the Doctor" checks all Shinkansen track. Any track maintenance needed is undertaken the same day.

Over the Shinkansen's 56-year history, carrying over 5.3 billion passengers, there has been not a single passenger fatality or injury due to train accidents - despite the Shinkansen's top speed of 320 kilometres an hour. What's more, it usually runs within seconds of its scheduled time.

John drove freight trains as well at the XPT, and in 2019 started working on the daily Sydney-Melbourne XPT run. In November 2019, I rode with him from Albury to Melbourne. At the time, passengers from Canberra had to board the train at Albury because of track work in NSW. On that occasion, the XPT left Albury an hour late because a rail-substitute coach from Canberra was delayed by a fuel spillage at Wagga.

John was his usual welcoming self and explained some of his challenges driving this different sector. The XPT drives on a dedicated track in Victoria to Southern Cross station in Melbourne because the rail gauge in Victoria is different to NSW. The Victoria signals system is also different, as are the rail signage and general operating procedures.

John advised me to make my stuff secure and said I would need to hang on because some sections were very hair-raising, with quite violent sideways movement. He said that the XPT track was under-maintained and he had half-expected to come off the rails on his first few trips.

John was a cautious driver, but under continual pressure to make up time. (The XPT train service into Melbourne has a poor record for timeliness, with only 41 percent of trains arriving on time during 2019-2020.)

On this occasion, we were an hour late into Melbourne due to the delayed start, red signal lights, and speed restrictions.

It is to be hoped that John's and his colleague's unnecessary deaths pr%%k the conscience of ACT and federal politicians to do something radical about our outmoded train service. It should be an election issue in the ACT this year. It's a disgrace that Australia has a worse train system than many Third World countries.

If we scrapped the purchase of our 12 (already obsolete) new submarines for an estimated $80 billion saved, Australia could have a first-class national rail infrastructure with all the environmental, economic and social benefits that would come with it. But we might have to get Japan or China to build it for us.

In memory of my friend John Kennedy, a good mate to many, loving family man, and dedicated train driver.
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2020, 06:21:22 AM »
https://twitter.com/7NewsBrisbane/status/1232390176158015488

7 News --> Video of railway line before XPT train crash between Sydney and Melbourne shows trecherous conditions

Quote
Terrifying video has emerged showing the treacherous conditions train drivers have to deal with where an XPT derailed last week, killing two people.

The train can be seen jolting side to side, as the driver struggles to negotiate a twisted track, and mud holes on a portion of the Sydney to Melbourne line.

He can be heard saying conditions are so bad he can’t drive at the recommended speed limit.

The ARTC is now facing demands from train users, unions and the Victorian government to provide safe travel conditions - to avoid a repeat of last week’s fatal crash.

It comes as the recovery of the train that derailed is almost complete.

Transport for NSW contractors put the lead locomotive on a specialised flatbed truck about 1pm on Tuesday, while two carriages were lifted on to trucks on Monday night.

The trucks will leave for Sydney on Wednesday and return later in the week to load the two remaining carriages from the site.

ARTC contractors have already begun repairing the tracks ahead of signalling works starting.

The XPT train from Sydney to Melbourne derailed at Wallan on Thursday night, killing experienced driver John Kennedy, 54, and his pilot, 49-year-old Sam Meintanis from Castlemaine.

It was revealed on Monday that Kennedy raised concerns with a friend about train faults on previous journeys along the same route.

“My last six Melbourne return trains have been very late or cancelled mainly due to train fault issues,” an email sent to Australian National University professor Clive Williams on February 3 read.

“Three of the six runs I was down to one engine, on another trip I had no ‘speedo’ and the only trip without a train fault was disrupted by the big derailment last week.”

It is believed the derailment mentioned in Kennedy’s email relates to a freight train that left the tracks on January 29 at Barnawartha, about 200km north of Wallan.

Investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau were on the scene from Friday morning and will release a preliminary report after 30 days, ahead of a final report in 18 months.

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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #32 on: February 28, 2020, 07:16:03 AM »
Herald Sun --> Last warning sign for Sydney-to-Melbourne derailed train labelled as ‘disgraceful’

Quote
A wooden cross strapped to a rail signal with garden ties was the last warning of danger along the Sydney-to-Melbourne line where a train derailed and killed two people.



The Herald Sun has obtained an image of the dodgy DIY job, which will form part of the probe into the crash that claimed the lives of driver John Kennedy and pilot Sam Meintanis.

Concerns have also been raised that the out-of-action signals were not “bagged”, which is a practice used to cover the signal’s light and give drivers a clear indication of issues on the line.

The train that derailed was going well above the makeshift speed limit of 15kmh when it derailed, with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau probing how the driver missed instructions about restrictions.

It is understood the crash investigation will also look at whether live signal testing by Australian Rail Track Corporation workers had been occurring along the track, which could have confused those controlling the train.

Live testing of signals while services are still running is banned by VLine, which also runs trains on the section of track where the crash occured.

Senior Victorian transport sources have said that running trains through the track where signals were not “bagged” increased risk, and the way they had been marked with a cross tied together with plastic was a “disgrace”.

Signals were out of commission in the area around the derailment — near to Wallan, just north of Melbourne — due to a fire that affected the signal box.

The Herald Sun understands questions are being asked about members of the team sent to fix that problem, who were under a cloud due to involvement in other incident on the rail network.

ARTC chief executive John Fullerton said yesterday that it was not appropriate to comment on the ongoing investigation.

“I don’t want to rule things in or out,” he said.

“The main thing now is to work closely with those investigators to understand all the facts leading up to the incident. Often these are complex matters.”

Freight services were expected to resume by today with passenger trains to follow.
In the aftermath of the crash on February 20, serious deficiencies on the track itself were discovered, including missing bolts or “fasteners” that can cause sections to separate and carriages to jolt.

Planned works to upgrade the Albury-to-Melbourne section of the line are trying to rectify some problems, including drainage issues under tracks that cause rough riding — something that has led to passengers falling off toilets in recent years.

Mr Fullerton said the ARTC has robust systems to manage track performance.

" ...  Mr Fullerton said the ARTC has robust systems to manage track performance. ...  "

 :fp:

Signals not in use normally have the cross over the signal aspect, not down on the pole.  Apparently ARTC do the cross on the bottom.

ARTC seems to do a lot of things differently hey?   :o

« Last Edit: February 28, 2020, 11:05:45 AM by ozbob »
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #33 on: February 28, 2020, 09:09:22 AM »
Trains have resumed.

https://twitter.com/andrew_lund/status/1233166325096181761
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Offline HappyTrainGuy

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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #34 on: February 28, 2020, 02:06:07 PM »

Signals not in use normally have the cross over the signal aspect, not down on the pole.  Apparently ARTC do the cross on the bottom.

ARTC seems to do a lot of things differently hey?   :o

And people wonder why everyone laughed when it was suggested that the ARTC take over the NCL.

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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #35 on: February 28, 2020, 02:21:01 PM »
^ A ' near miss ' ... praise the gods!

In my travels around Oz land,  there are two networks that stand out in terms of high standard track.  Queensland Rail and TransWA (TransPerth)  The line to Bunbury is in great shape.

Adelaide is good and bad.  Sydney a lot better than Melbourne.  Victoria regional is getting better but ARTC controlled track is a mess IMHO.
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #36 on: February 28, 2020, 04:51:41 PM »
We know how to keep the track in good nick, just not how to design or use it properly...
Ride the G:

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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #37 on: February 29, 2020, 08:28:03 AM »
Melbourne Age --> Diversion instructions in cab of the train that derailed

Quote
The driver of a train that derailed, leading to his death and that of the train’s pilot, had pages of written instructions in his cab about a track diversion at what would be the scene of the crash, sources close to the investigation have confirmed.

The documents stated the XPT Sydney-Melbourne train would be diverted via a passing loop at Wallan and advised the driver to lower his speed to 15km/h.

However, train driver John Kennedy was travelling at more than 100km/h when he approached the  loop where the train derailed. The accident also left 11 people injured.

It is unclear whether he or the train's pilot, Sam Meintanis, were aware of the contents of the two documents.

It comes as rail insiders said sections of the Sydney-to-Melbourne track were maintained to a freight train standard, rather than the higher benchmark for passenger trains.

The line mostly services freight trains, but is also used for XPT and Albury services.

Commuters on these trains are subject to extreme rough riding and speed restrictions because of degrading track quality.

Rail safety investigators will examine whether the Australian Rail Track Corporation's decision to divert the train off the main line was properly communicated to Mr Kennedy, and whether he called controllers in Junee, NSW to confirm he was aware of the change.

The probe will also assess whether the Sydney-to-Melbourne line was being properly maintained, with the national rail watchdog on Friday afternoon ordering the ARTC to immediately launch an independent audit.

The Office of National Rail Safety Regulator's chief executive, Sue McCarrey, said the audit would focus on the suitability of the ARTC's track maintenance standards.

“The action I’ve taken in relation to ARTC is about addressing the very public concerns of rail safety workers and making sure we can promote public confidence in rail safety," Ms McCarrey said.

Under a 45-year lease the ARTC signed with the now-defunct Public Transport Victoria, the standards for track quality and maintenance are lower than on other Victorian passenger lines.

Track geometry – which is now being fixed under a $235 million upgrade – has been deemed satisfactory in every quarterly assessment since 2017.

This is despite XPT and Albury trains continuing to miss their punctuality targets due to the degrading track.

Albury services have not reached V/Line's 92 per cent monthly punctuality target since 2017, with services dropping to a low of 32 per cent last year. XPT trains missed their performance target every month in the 2019-20 financial year.

In 2017, then public transport minister Jacinta Allan convinced former federal transport minister Barnaby Joyce to add $135 million to the $100 million already promised for a line upgrade.

Ms Allan argued this would enable Victoria to run V/Locity trains to Albury at 130km/h.

An ARTC spokesman said it was finalising the scope of the $235 million upgrade, which would "help improve passenger ride comfort, reduce causes of major delays and improve the reliability of services".

The fatal crash has been "devastating for ARTC as well our colleagues in the wider rail community", the spokesman said.

Repairs to the line around Wallan have been completed and trains re-commenced on Friday.

"With the rail line now back online, our focus is on providing whatever support we can to the various investigations into the incident."
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #38 on: February 29, 2020, 09:47:53 AM »
XPT services between Melbourne and Sydney have resumed.

« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 02:32:19 PM by ozbob »
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Re: XPT derailment Wallan 20th February 2020
« Reply #39 on: February 29, 2020, 03:10:28 PM »
https://www.vline.com.au/

V/Line train services on the Seymour and Shepparton lines resume from first service this Sunday 1 March, with Albury services to return from first service Monday 2 March.

Passengers are asked to allow extra time on Albury trains once they resume due to trains running at slower than normal speeds.
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