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The national transport safety regulator is investigating a possible safety breach at one of Brisbane’s busiest train stations after south-east Queensland's rail network was thrown into chaos on Tuesday afternoon.
Delays, initially up to 45 minutes, affected all rail lines through peak hour after an empty train ran a red signal at Roma Street station.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has since launched an investigation into the incident.
“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,” a spokesman said.
On Wednesday, Queensland Rail chief executive Nick Easy confirmed the train had run a red signal, damaging a “claw lock” on a set of points, which control when trains change tracks.
He said QR crews worked into the night to have the problem fixed by about 9.50pm.
“At approximately 4.33pm, Queensland Rail experienced a points issue at Platform 8, Roma Street station, after a train passed a red signal,” he said, in a statement.
“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.”
Mr Easy stood by his comments made on Tuesday evening that the delays were caused by a "points issue", saying giving customers timely information was one of QR's top priorities.
"A set of points was damaged during the incident, and it was this points issue that prevented the movement of the train and the provision of normal services until the track could be thoroughly inspected and repaired," he said.
“Queensland Rail’s EGM Citytrain clearly stated in media interviews yesterday evening that the overall circumstances of the incident would be considered as part of an investigation."
Mr Easy said the organisation would undertake a full investigation and had reported the incident to the ATSB.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad apologised for the delays on Tuesday evening, also blaming a “points fault”.
“On a big heavy rail network like Queensland Rail, there are going to be points faults occasionally,” she said.
“There are going to be electronic faults in the system.
“There’s going to be live animals who get the system down, like possums and flying foxes, which we’ve seen over the past couple of months.
“We run a large network and on occasion, things go wrong.”
On Thursday morning, she refused to guarantee the government would make the result of the investigation public.
"I’ll have to check whether or not we make those findings public but look, I have absolutely no hesitation in making sure that all of the issues that have been identified are in the public domain," she told ABC Radio Brisbane.
"We did that with the unfortunate fatality of a worker on the rail line a few months ago.
"We made that investigation public. I think that information in the public domain is best."
The ATSB published its preliminary report into that incident last month, finding the worker had been facing away from the train as it came around a corner and did not have time to escape the track as it bore down on him, braking and sounding its horn.
The ATSB spokesman expected the investigation to take several months but said any safety issues identified before the investigation finished would be immediately passed on to those involved.
This article first appeared on www.brisbanetimes.com.au
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