In 2007, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) embarked on a major investment program to upgrade the rail track between Melbourne and Sydney. Since the program began, there have been a number of incidents and the condition of the line has been subject to significant adverse comment about its safety, largely in relation to rough ride characteristics and the existence and lack of remediation of ‘mud-holes’. On 16 August 2011, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, requested that the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) undertake an investigation to examine (in broad terms) the safety of rail operations on the Melbourne to Sydney line.
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