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A COMMUTER group has called on Queensland Rail to expedite the rollout of new technology to stop trains running red signals, following an incident this week that caused major disruptions.
The call comes as the rail safety watchdog launches an investigation into the incident on Tuesday involving a passenger train passing a red signal near Roma Street Station about 4.30pm.
A spokesman for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the investigation would take several months, but immediate steps would be taken if a safety issue was identified before the investigation is complete.
The final report will be made public.
“As part of its investigation, the ATSB will interview the driver of the train and review recorded data from the signal system and from the train,” the spokesman said.
There were no passengers on board the train at the time, and no one was harmed.
But there was minor damage to the train and fixed infrastructure, according to the ATSB.
Spokesman for commuter group Rail Back on Track Robert Dow said the incident brought into focus the need to roll out QR’s project to implement the European train control system.
Expressions of interest for the $634 million project opened in June last year.
The project for a “world-class rail signalling system” features an automatic braking system that enables trains to travel closer together, meaning more trains can be in service at busy times.
Queensland Rail CEO Nick EasyMr Dow said the system would include an automatic train protection system, where trains were automatically slowed on detection of a red signal.
He said while other states of Australia had such a system in place in some form, QR continued to rely solely on drivers stopping at the red signal on the Citytrain passenger network.
“I think the (Tuesday) incident highlights why we need to move on with (implementing) a European train control system for automatic train protection,” he said.
“It is currently under way, but we think it should be escalated.”
The Roma Street incident caused chaos for commuters trying to get home from work, with delays up to 45 minutes.
QR initially blamed a points fault for the delays. It later revealed the point issue involved a train passing a red signal.
“It was the points issue that prevented the movement of the train and the provision of normal services until the track could be thoroughly inspected and repaired,” QR chief executive officer Nick Easy said.
“The incident resulted in a damaged ‘claw lock’ on a set of points, which Queensland Rail crews worked into the night to rectify by approximately 9.50pm, once gaining safe access to the track following afternoon peak.
“The train was empty, and was travelling at a slow pace entering Platform 8 at the time of the incident. The platform was clear of all other rail traffic at the time.”
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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