Oil on track blamed for commuter train crash

Investigators have found that leaf debris and oil on the track caused a passenger train to crash into a suburban railway station.

The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau has found the January accident was due to Queensland Rail’s failure to keep the track clean, and blamed ‘contamination’ on the track for reducing adhesion with the train’s wheels.

The train came unstuck on January 31 as it approached Cleveland station at the end of the line at Brisbane’s bayside, The Australian reported.

Nineteen people were on the train at the time of the accident, and eight more were waiting on the platform when the train hit the end-of-line buffer, jumped the tracks and crashed into a toilet block.

No one was seriously injured.

"The studies indicated that a damp leaf film produced significantly reduced levels of friction and adhesion," the ATBS found in its preliminary report on the accident, released today.

"Considering the evidence of a film of leaf tissue and oils on the rail head, combined with light rain falling at Cleveland as train T842 approached the station, the rail running surface almost certainly exhibited poor adhesion at the contact between the train's wheels and the rail head, resulting in wheel slide.

"Preliminary analysis has shown that the driver's operation of the train was in accordance with normal practice and that the train's broke system worked as designed."

The ATBS said Queensland Rail didn’t do enough to ‘sufficiently mitigate’ the risk buildups posed to track safety.

Image: au.new.yahoo.com

Coal train derails in Queensland

 Two workers are uninjured after a coal train derailment near Gladstone.

The QR train jumped the track on Friday afternoon, according to the Gladstone Observer.

It comes less than a week after Aurizon, previously known as QR National, announced that rail freight lines were opening following heavy flooding in the region.

A small fire broke out due to the derailment and power lines were knocked down.

The cause of the derailment is not yet known.

Image: Gladstone Observer – Chris Ison Rokctrain

Rail freight reduces truck movements through Fremantle

Fremantle Port loading containers nto trains

Sixty-five thousand truck movements through Fremantle have been averted thanks to new rail facilities and a strategy to encourage the use of rail to transport sea freight containers

The strategy and new facilities have achieved a 1,200% increase in the number of containers carried by rail over the past six years, with the number rising from 7,000 teu (container equivalents) carried on rail in 2002 to an estimated 84,000 teu in 2008.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said this volume of freight would have required an estimated 65,000 additional truck movements through the port.

Ms MacTiernan said the dramatic result was a key achievement of the metropolitan freight strategy, a six-point plan to manage freight more sustainably through the metropolitan area launched in 2002.

“One of the key planks of the plan was getting more freight containers on rail and I am pleased to say we have made real progress,” she said.

“This impressive increase brings the rail container freight share for Fremantle to 14.5 per cent and rising, with a further increase to 100,000 containers expected for 2009.

“Community and environmental benefits associated with reducing truck movements through the port and off surrounding roads by 65,000 are estimated at nearly $2 million a year.

“Road transporters also benefit from this move to rail, as the reduced number of trucks through the port results in improved operating efficiency at the port.”

Fremantle Ports CEO Kerry Sanderson said the increased use of rail for transporting containers to and from Fremantle Inner Harbour was a gain for both port efficiency and for the environment.

“The increase from around 2% of containers by rail in 2002 to the current share of about 14.5% is very encouraging,” she said.

“The more containers that are transported by rail, the fewer trucks will be on the road, thereby reducing traffic congestion and truck noise in the community."

She said that currently over a week there were on average three train movements a day, with more on weekdays and fewer on weekends.

Kerry Sanderson said the 2002 Metropolitan Freight Network Review target was to move 30% of containers by rail, instead of by road by 2012–13.

“Calculations have shown that when Fremantle’s Inner Harbour is operating at capacity, 30% of containers could be transported by four trains a day – four movements in and four out – if the containers are double stacked and the trains are 600 metres in length."

Photo: Containers being loaded onto a train at North Quay

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