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Level Crossing Safety & Accident Investigation International Rail Safety Conference Goa - 2007 Tony Simes Senior Transport Safety Investigator ATSB 30.

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Presentation on theme: "Level Crossing Safety & Accident Investigation International Rail Safety Conference Goa - 2007 Tony Simes Senior Transport Safety Investigator ATSB 30."— Presentation transcript:

1 Level Crossing Safety & Accident Investigation International Rail Safety Conference Goa Tony Simes Senior Transport Safety Investigator ATSB 30 Sept – 6 Oct 2007

2 The Rail Environment in Australia ●Developed as a collection of separate State-based rail networks ●Federal Government push for reform over past 30 years – Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) - Access – Private sector involvement - Operations ●Rail Safety Regulation – State based legislation – State based regulator – Co-regulatory framework ●Rail Safety Investigation – Federal based legislation (for interstate trains) – Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)

3 Accident Investigations ●Aviation ●Marine ●Rail Research Investigations ●Road / Aviation / Marine / Rail The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)

4 ATSB Mission The ATSB contributes to the wellbeing of all Australians by maintaining and improving transport safety and public confidence through excellence in: ●independent investigation of transport accidents and other safety occurrences ●safety data recording, analysis and research; and ●raising safety awareness and knowledge

5 Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 ●ATSB investigations do not apportion blame or liability ●Investigation reports cannot be used as evidence in civil or criminal proceedings ●All investigation reports must be publicly released ●The TSI Act gives the ATSB considerable investigative powers

6 Defined Interstate Rail Network (DIRN) Brisbane Sydney Melbourne Adelaide Darwin Perth

7 Rail Investigation Team ●Adelaide (South Australia) – 4 Investigators ●Canberra (Australian Capital Territory) – 2 Investigators – 2 Investigators (shared with Marine Team) ●Brisbane (Queensland) – 1 Investigator

8 Level Crossing Traffic Control Passive Control ●Relies on the road user detecting the approach or presence of a train through direct observation and reacting accordingly Active Control ●Relies on the road user sighting the flashing lights, recognising their intended message and reacting accordingly ●removes the requirement for direct observation of an approaching train

9 Railway Level Crossings in Australia ●Over 9000 public level crossings in Australia ●Only about 30% have active traffic control

10 Level Crossings Accidents ●The ATSB has investigated 15 significant level crossing accidents over the past five years – 1 involved a passenger bus – 4 involved cars – 10 involved trucks ●Only one involved failed level crossing traffic control ●Traffic Control – 9 at passive control crossings – 6 at active control crossings

11 Salisbury (South Australia) 24 Oct 2002 ●Human error (vehicle drivers) ●Traffic queuing ●4 people killed ●26 people injured

12 Aloomba (Queensland) 23 May 2003 ●Human error (vehicle driver) ●Crossing design and sighting ●1 person killed ●2 people injured

13 Horsham (Victoria) 11 Aug 2005 ●Human error (vehicle driver) ●1 person killed

14 Albury (New South Wales) 5 Jun 2006 ●Human error (vehicle driver) ●Drugs ●Mobile phone ●1 person killed

15 Kalgoorlie (Western Australia) 14 May 2007 ●Equipment failure ●Ongoing investigation ●1 person injured

16 Heavy Vehicles in Australia Road-Trains ●25m m long, some up to 175 tonnes in total weight. ●Road-trains in Australia are the largest in terms of weight and length allowed on public roads in the world. Standard Trucks ●Rigid trucks / trailers (12m - 19m long) ●Semi-trailer trucks (19m - 25m long)

17 Benalla (Victoria) 13 Oct 2002 ●3 people killed (on train) ●1 person injured (on train) ●Human error (vehicle driver) ●Crossing design and sighting

18 Lismore (Victoria) 25 May 2006 ●Human error (vehicle driver) ●Environmental conditions ●1 person killed (truck driver)

19 Tailem Bend (South Australia) 4 Oct 2006 ●Human error (vehicle driver) ●1 person injured

20 Elizabeth River (Northern Territory) 20 Oct 2006 ●Human error (vehicle driver) ●Crossing design ●Train conspicuity ●2 locomotive drivers injured

21 Illabo (New South Wales) 2 Nov 2006 ●Human error (vehicle driver) ●Ongoing investigation ●no injuries

22 Wingeel (Victoria) 15 Nov 2006 ●Human error (vehicle driver) ●Ongoing investigation ●1 person killed (truck driver)

23 Ban Ban Springs (Northern Territory) 12 Dec 2006 ●Human error (vehicle driver) ●Ongoing investigation ●2 significant injuries (truck driver and a train passenger) ●Several other minor injuries

24 Back Creek (New South Wales) 10 Mar 2007 ●Human error (vehicle driver) ●Ongoing investigation ●1 person killed ●2 locomotive drivers injured

25 Kerang (Victoria) 5 June 2007 ●Human error (vehicle driver) ●Ongoing investigation assisted by the ATSB ●11 people killed ●14 people injured

26 Two Wells (South Australia) 6 August 2007 ●Human error (vehicle driver) ●Ongoing investigation ●1 person injured (Truck driver)

27 Different perspectives create challenges associated with improving level crossing safety ●Road safety perspective. – Less than 1% of road crash deaths in Australia occur at level crossings – Funding is generally directed towards where the majority of deaths occur (roads) ●Rail safety perspective – Level crossing accidents usually result in death or serious injury – Generally account for a large proportion of fatalities associated with the railway – Actions of third parties are largely beyond the control of railway organisations. ●Community perspective – Recognise that sharing the road with other road users increases the risk of collision – By comparison, level crossing accidents are rare, have a high profile in the media and can have significant emotional impact on local communities – Heightened community focus directed towards the rail system, along with vigorous attempts to identify shortcomings in the railway crossing protection systems – Belief that level crossings needed to be better protected rather than focus on road rules that may have been ignored

28 Level Crossing Safety Improvements (Investigation outcomes) ●Public awareness and law enforcement ●Re-design of the road / rail interface (layout, road signals etc.) ●Re-assessment of bus / heavy vehicle routes ●Closure of the level crossing and grade separation ●Restricting access (truck size limits) ●Improving conspicuity of trains (flashing ditch lights) ●Recognition of the risk posed by large, long, heavy vehicles ●Ensuring sighting requirements are suitable for all vehicles

29 National Safety Initiatives ●Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model (ALCAM) ●National Railway Level Crossing Behavioural Plan (Australasian Railway Association) State Safety Initiatives ●Safety education campaigns in most Australian states ●Some states have initiated major infrastructure upgrade programs to improve safety at railway level crossings – Other initiatives both national and state based

30 Further information

31 Questions International Rail Safety Conference Goa Tony Simes Senior Transport Safety Investigator ATSB 30 Sept – 6 Oct 2007


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