July 24, 2014
Interim TIAC report on Melling incident
The Rail and Maritime Transport Union said today that there is long-standing concern about the effectiveness of the Matangi braking system among train drivers, and the union will work with KiwiRail on interim recommendations in a TIAC report out today.
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has issued an interim report from the Melling stopblock smash in Lower Hutt on May 27 this year.
“The sole purpose of this interim report being provided was to make urgent recommendations to Kiwirail regarding safety issues identified early in TAIC’s ongoing investigation,” RMTU General Secretary Wayne Butson said.
“These recommendations concerned the speed limit on the approach to Melling station, the use of modern, shock-absorbing stop-blocks rather concrete ones, and placement of the terminal pole (bearing the electric overhead line) out of the train over-run path.”
Wayne Butson said that the report does confirm the presence of THC in the driver’s system.
“No conclusions are drawn from this; the issue of whether the driver was impaired in any way remains one line of enquiry. At this point no allegation of driver impairment has been made, and the RMTU have seen no evidence of driver impairment,” he said.
Wayne Butson said that there have been numerous reports about braking system irregularities.
“Several important lines of enquiry remain open, including the performance and design characteristics of the braking system, that system’s ability to stop the train on wet or greasy tracks, and the influence of environmental conditions on track adhesion.”
“This is an issue on which the RMTU continues to work with Kiwirail. A stop-work meeting is scheduled for today to allow for feedback from drivers about the problems they have experienced,” he said.