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Te Wera accident report referred to select cmttee.

7 November 2003 Media Statement

Te Wera accident report referred to select committee

The Transport Minister Paul Swain is to refer the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) report of the express freight train 533 derailment near Te Wera to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee.

Mr Swain says he supports the recommendations made in the TAIC report into the 26 July 2002 derailment, which killed the locomotive engineer.

The report has made a number of safety recommendations with regard to approved safety systems for all rail operators, and Mr Swain says he would like the select committee to consider the recommendations alongside the Railways Bill also before the committee.

These recommendations include a policy for managing risks associated with substance induced performance impairment; a requirement for event recorders to be installed in any locomotive, rail car, electric multiple unit or diesel multiple unit on the main line; and a requirement for a train control voice recording facility and radio log capable of being downloaded for analytical purposes.

Mr Swain says Tranz Rail and the LTSA have already taken steps to implement the recommendations.

Tranz Rail is to undertake a company wide training programme for all staff and their families covering the effects of drugs and alcohol.

This is to reinforce the company’s alcohol and drug free workplace policy, which has been in place since 2001.

The LTSA commissioned a review of Remote Lines operations following the incident.

The review will be looking at improvements to communications between train control and engineers, better staff training and improvements to systems for emergency response and preparedness.

"The Ministry of Transport is currently considering what legislative changes could be required in order to facilitate TAIC’s recommendations."

"However, there is nothing stopping Tranz Rail or any other rail operator from acting on the majority of these recommendations, of their own accord, prior to legislative changes."

Mr Swain says he will write to the Select Committee with a copy of the report to ask that it consider the appropriate legislative changes as part of the Railways Bill, which is currently with the Committee.

The select committee is due to report the bill back to Parliament by 30 January 2004.

The full copy of the occurrence report (02-116) is available on the TAIC website at www.taic.org.nz

More details about the Railways Bill can be found at: -

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