Wednesday, April 3, 2024

ONRSR Statement On Wallan Findings

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and NSW Trains have been found guilty of breaches of Rail Safety National Law in relation to the derailment of a passenger train that killed two rail safety workers at Wallan, Victoria in February 2020.

ONRSR Logo w Image 6b jpg

ARTC and NSW Trains were fined $375,000 and $150,000 respectively in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, 3 April.

On 20 February 2020, the NSW Trains operated XPT train carrying 155 passengers and two crew derailed when it entered the ARTC managed Wallan Loop. The driver and an accompanying qualified worker were killed, while another eight passengers sustained serious injuries.

In bringing the charges, ONRSR alleged ARTC failed to implement key safety measures before the fatal derailment, including ensuring NSW Trains and its drivers were aware of a divergence at Wallan, and not installing warning measures on the approach to the track change.

It also alleged NSW Trains failed to reduce or eliminate the risk of the train derailing by not ensuring the driver or safety staff were aware of critical information such as changes to the rail network configuration prior to the journey.

National Rail Safety Regulator and ONRSR Chief Executive, Dr. Natalie Pelham said the action to prosecute the operators was not taken lightly.

“Today our thoughts are with the families and friends of the two rail safety workers that did not go home that night,” Dr. Pelham said.

“In addition to those who lost their lives, 61 passengers and crew were injured with eight requiring hospitalisation for serious injuries. Many of them experience trauma to this day.”

“This matter was pursued to reinforce obligations under the RSNL to provide for safe railway operations and in the public interest to promote confidence in rail.”

“It is a requirement that rail transport operators have the competency and capacity to manage the risks to safety posed by their operations.”

Since the accident ONRSR has conducted a range of regulatory activities to assess and improve operators’ performance in relation to safety critical communications, the management of unplanned operational changes and how they interact with track managers.

“ONRSR will do everything in its power to ensure the lessons of this tragic event are learned and adopted by industry to prevent any recurrence of an incident like this,” Dr. Pelham said.

“We will continue to work with the industry to secure the changes needed to improve safety.”

Last updated: Apr 3, 2024, 8:19:55 PM