Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


KiwiRail told to improve train control safety

For immediate release.

KiwiRail told to improve train control safety

Train controller error which nearly resulted in a mid-tunnel collision between a freight train and a maintenance vehicle in 2011 was caused in part by the systems, supervision and culture at KiwiRail’s train control centre, a Transport Accident Investigation Commission inquiry has found.

The report released today (17 Oct 13) describes how a mid-tunnel accident was “narrowly averted” when a worker inspecting rail structures in the area overheard radio calls, realised a collision could result, and radioed the train to stop.  The train controller had not made required checks and assumed the freight train had already passed the area when she gave a motorised maintenance cart permission to use the track.

“This incident would have become a serious accident, but for the fortuitous intervention of the worker who overhead the radio communications.  The underlying issues at train control identified during this inquiry meant that it could not be seen as a one-off event, and KiwiRail and the New Zealand Transport Agency need to take action to ensure something similar or worse does not happen again,” said Chief Commissioner John Marshall QC.

The report’s 20 findings described how:
•          KiwiRail had made an inadequate risk assessment of the extra workload given to the controller on the day. 
•          The controller “was stressed, mentally fatigued and operating well below an optimal level when she made her error”. 
•          No one was aware of her state, and she had not received training to recognise and deal with it. 
•          KiwiRail did not have proper systems in place to manage stress and fatigue of train controllers. 
•          There was a lack of support and minimal supervision of the controller during her shift. 
•          Controllers worked without scheduled rest, toilet, or meal breaks – and the controller believed her workload meant she could not leave her room. 
•          Poor planning and co-ordination of track works made the situation unnecessarily worse. 
•          Electronic visibility of trains and other vehicles on tracks would have made the controller’s job easier.

“KiwiRail has done a number of things since the incident to address issues identified during the inquiry, and the Commission is particularly pleased that it has recently introduced a system that makes all trains on 95% of its network electronically visible to train controllers.  However the Commission believes more action is needed in four specific areas,” Mr Marshall said: 

•          “There needs to be better risk management of the train control operation, including chief executive and board oversight.
•          “KiwiRail needs to improve its management of stress and fatigue and ensure controllers are always able to take rest, toilet and meal breaks. 
•          “Track works should be planned with the impact on train control in mind. 
•          “Finally, KiwiRail should ensure train controllers have electronic sight of all trains and other rail vehicles as this would further reduce the opportunity for error.

“The Commission has also asked the rail regulator, the New Zealand Transport Agency, to take all appropriate steps to ensure KiwiRail addresses our recommendations. 

“KiwiRail and the New Zealand Transport Agency have accepted our recommendations.

“This inquiry drew out key lessons for any organisation with safety-critical functions: to take risk management seriously, to supervise staff properly, to ensure a supportive culture exists, to insist staff get breaks and food, to manage workloads carefully, and to ensure communication is clear,” said Mr Marshall.

Inquiry Report .pdf.  http://www.taic.org.nz/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=evczSOCjaGA%3d&tabid=36&mid=613&language=en-US (scroll down .pdf that opens for report title)

Scoop Copy: 11102_Final.pdf


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Minister of Finance: Plan Shows $100 Billion Infrastructure Projects

Finance Minister Bill English has today launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows a pipeline of $100.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade. More>>


Werewolf: Safe Landings Gordon Campbell on the safety challenge to the Wellington runway extension.

The safety-related legal challenge revolves around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. More>>


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Plastic Bag Activism, And Street Harassment

Amusing to see the Act Party experiencing another outbreak of young fogey-ism. What has aroused the ire of Act Leader David Seymour this time is the introduction of a Greens private members bill to the ballot process, calling for a 15 cents levy on plastic bags to reduce pollution. More>>


Unclear Weapons: US Navy Ship Cleared To Visit NZ For Navy's 75th

United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key... “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news