The ATSB has found that a collision between a GrainCorp freight train and overturned truck occurred because train control could not contact the approaching train in the ten minutes or so before the collision.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released its final report into the investigation of a collision that occurred at the Olympic Highway level crossing at Illabo in New South Wales on 2 November 2006.
At the time of the collision it was dark and raining. The semi-trailer overturned while negotiating the curve prior to the level crossing. The truck driver called ‘000’ and the message was relayed through to the Junee train control centre.
Unfortunately, the emergency message from train control was routed through to the wrong locomotive on the train. Had the message been received by the train crew the collision would probably not have occurred.
The investigation established that the train drivers and train controllers had failed to ensure that the primary radio communication system in the leading locomotive was switched on and registered on the CountryNet train communications system. The investigation also found that the train company’s policies and procedures, train control procedures and network rules failed to ensure that the train’s communication system was operative at the time.
In the interest of enhancing future road/rail safety, the ATSB has issued a number of recommendations that address various safety issues including the need to ensure that the primary radio communication system, CountryNet, is operational at all times in the leading locomotive of all trains in New South Wales.