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Danger Ahead!
Danger Ahead! Feature
Disaster in the Blue Mountains  
2 December 1999     

Interim Report of the Inquiry into the Glenbrook Disaster
Glenbrook, NSW

23 factors together contributed to the accident

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Warning bells rang before Glenbrook
by Robert Wainright
Sydney Morning Herald 08 Jun 2000

The warning signs emerged last July when the eighth NSW rail worker in a year died on the job, hit by a train as he installed safety equipment on a track.
Amid growing union anger over an inexplicable rise in deaths among rail workers, the Minister for Transport, Mr Scully, conceded that safety might have "slipped between the cracks".
He said rail chiefs would form a strategic rail safety committee and senior managers would get extra safety training.
Mr Scully was acknowledging what others had been saying for some time: that the 1996 decision to split State Rail into four entities - the State Rail Authority, Rail Access Corporation, Rail Services Australia and Freightcorp - had caused problems.  more . . .
Justice Peter McInerney's interim report into the Glenbrook disaster was released on 6 June 2000. The report presents the findings based on the first part of the inquiry and points to 23 factors that together contributed to the accident. The drivers of both of the trains are cleared of blame. This was despite efforts by lawyers in the inquiry attempting to place the responsibility on the inter-urban train's driver. Signalling staff at Penrith are criticised but also points to poor management procedures and inadequate staff training. The report states "It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that all employees on the rail network are properly trained, supervised and recertified in tasks which have an effect on their safety and the safety of the travelling public".

The report makes 8 interim recommendations including
  • installation of train indicator boards in the Blue Mountains
  • use of Metronet on all trains using the CityRail network
  • stricter rules about proceeding through a red light
  • adherence by drivers and signallers to protocols about radio communications
  • ban on non-staff travelling in the driver's compartment

Glenbrook accident report favourable to Lithgow driver
ABC 07 Jun 2000
A report into the Glenbrook rail accident has found Cityrail's Lithgow-based train driver showed a healthy respect for a red light signal and was not given proper feedback from a Penrith signaller.

Blistering report blasts rail safety
Sydney Morning Herald 07 Jun 2000
A litany of errors - from faulty signals to antiquated telephone systems and staff training - have been blamed for the Glenbrook train disaster in which seven died and 51 were injured.
In a damning report released yesterday, Justice Peter McInerney found that 23 factors combined on the morning of December 2 to cause the accident.

Recommendations follow from Glenbrook rail inquiry
Excite 06 Jun 2000
Justice Peter McInerney has made eight recommendations he wants implemented immediately in his interim report on last December's Glenbrook rail accident, which killed seven people.
The New South Wales Premier, Bob Carr, and the Transport Minister, Carl Scully, were briefed by Justice McInerney this morning.

Scathing Glenbrook report lists 23 crash causes
NineMSN 06 Jun 2000
A scathing report into the fatal Glenbrook train crash has found no less than 23 causes of the accident, fuelled by inadequate training of key rail staff and the absence of vital equipment.
The interim report by Justice Peter McInerney found a missing signal board kicked off a series of blunders by rail drivers and signallers involved in the tragedy.

No-nonsense commissioner took on QCs
Sydney Morning Herald 07 Jun 2000
From the outset, Glenbrook disaster commissioner Justice Peter McInerney made it clear that he was going to apportion blame for the train disaster which killed seven people and injured 51.
A number of times during his inquiry, he expressed the view that both human and system failures were responsible for the mistakes which caused the CityRail inter-urban 6.39am out of Lithgow to crash into the rear of the stationary Indian Pacific at Glenbrook.
And on several occasions he was impatient with the raft of highly paid QCs when they tried to excuse their clients and place the blame elsewhere.

Report 'pointless' if no action taken
Sydney Morning Herald 07 Jun 2000
The release of the interim report into the Glenbrook rail tragedy yesterday would mean nothing unless the Government acted swiftly on its recommendations, one of the survivors of the collision said.
Mr Lindsay Plim, who owns the Glenbrook newsagency, was travelling to Penrith with his daughter, Kate, on December 2 last year when their inter-city train ploughed into the back of the Indian Pacific, killing seven people.

The second part of the inquiry is to start on Thursday June 8, 2000

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This file last updated: Thursday, 08-Jun-2000 19:10:32 EDT
Copyright © David Fry 1999, 2000