Safety bureau finds Qld train crash caused by slippery track
THE Australian Transport Safety Bureau has found slippery conditions caused by contaminants - leaves, oil, rust, lubricant plus a drizzling rain - and not catastrophic brake failure were behind the Brisbane rail crash at Cleveland in January.
The train driver was found to have performed competently and the ATSB clearing him of any blame.
QR, which has a risk assessment team examining the performance of brakes under different conditions, vowed to ensure "contaminants" on the track were dealt with and black spots recorded.
The ATSB's interim report - released on Wednesday - suggested it may not be enough, explaining "the residual safety risk remains significant and further action is required".
There was no indication of a "catastrophic brake failure" as suggested by the Rail Tram and Bus Union, which attacked the safety of QR's latest fleet of trains.
But the ATSB did say newer trainers "appear particularly susceptible to wheel slide" in slippery conditions, whereas older trains had slightly different brakes which helped grip the track in the same state.
The RTBU renewed its criticism of the particular class of train - the 160/220 - which make up one-third of QR's fleet.
In a press statement on Wednesday morning, Transport Minister Scott Emerson described the incident "an unusual mix of events", but said the ATSB had found tracks and trains to be safe.
ATSB chief commissioner Martin Dolan said every rail line would have oil, lubricant and rust present, but it was the light rain and leafy material that made it difficult for trains to stop.
The United Kingdom has dealt with issues from leaves falling in autumn by laying "sand material" on tracks to improve grip.
As part of its continuing investigation - likely to last another nine months - the ATSB will look into what was reported to QR before the crash, and what actions could or should have been taken.
A spokeswoman for Minister Emerson said it was lucky there were not more serious injuries but that QR's interim measures satisfied both the government and the ATSB.