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Train drivers are increasingly running red lights and putting commuters’ lives in danger.
Queensland Rail data reveals the rate of “signal passed at danger” (SPAD) – the term used when a train passes through a red signal – has soared.
Incidents of Queensland Rail trains travelling through red lights have increased in recent months.CREDIT:ROBERT SHAKESPEARE
At estimates in December, Queensland Rail chief executive Nick Easy said there was a “slight increase” in SPADs over the past two months but in November, the rate had dropped.
However, official data shows SPADs did not drop in November, and in fact remained higher for each of the seven months between September and March compared with the previous year.
Incidents were almost 50 per cent higher in March this year compared with 2020.
In one incident reported recently, two passenger trains almost crashed near Bowen Hills station after a driver misread a red light as a green light after their seat descended quickly and “jarred” their back.
The train passed over an automatic warning system with an audible alarm, which the driver acknowledged and turned off but later said they did not remember doing so.
A traffic control system detected the red light was passed and a network control officer told the driver to perform an emergency stop.
The train came to a stop about 126 metres short of where another suburban passenger train was crossing.
A report into the incident, on January 10, 2018, was released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau in April, with authorities finding the driver probably turned off the alarm as an “automatic response”.
LNP transport spokesman Steve Minnikin said the whole system was “under pressure”.
“The big increase in red light running over the past eight months shows Labor is losing control of rail safety,” he said.
“Minister [Mark] Bailey can’t blame COVID, Canberra or Campbell [Newman] for this problem.
“This has happened under his watch and he needs to tell rail passengers how he’s going to fix it.”
This article first appeared on www.brisbanetimes.com.au
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