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“These aren’t rail rules, these are road rules”

PublishedApr 30, 2024

“What’s it going to take to get people to obey the road rules?”

 This was the question from CEO Steven Dietrich on the back of yesterday’s collision, and subsequent derailment, at Westbury yesterday.

 TasRail staff have been onsite since yesterday evening after a heavy vehicle collided with a locomotive carrying containers destined for customers in the south of the State.

 After extensive investigations by the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator and Tasmania Police, the Marriott Street site was released as of 1.45pm for recovery operations and infrastructure repair.

 “While the extent of the damage won’t be fully known until the locomotive is lifted, it is currently estimated that more than 100m of track damage will need to be repaired,” Mr Dietrich said.

 Infrastructure crews are building track panels next to the site so they can be lifted into place quickly, however, Mr Dietrich said the damage to the level crossing will be more time-consuming to fix.

 “Our main priority is our people. We will do what it takes to get the job done safely and with that in mind.

 “Our customers remain supportive and understanding. Freight backlogs will be managed over the coming days to minimise disruptions.”

 The Western Line, TasRail’s main route to and from ports in the northwest, remains closed between Westbury and Deloraine, with repairs continuing through the day tomorrow.

 “Optimistically, we are aiming to reopen the line tomorrow (Wednesday) night, but we need to be mindful that could change depending on the extent of the damage.”

 Mr Dietrich confirmed that the locomotive driver and the driver of the heavy vehicle were both uninjured in the incident and that the TasRail team member was “being well supported”.

 “There is no doubt that this was an incredibly serious incident, and we’re all very thankful that both drivers are still here with their families,” he said.

 The crash followed a string of crashes between trains and heavy vehicles across Australia. 

“These aren’t rail rules, these are road rules. What is it going to take for people to do the right thing?” Mr Dietrich said.

 “Our trains can’t swerve; our drivers have to depend on road users to do the right thing.

 “We want everyone to go home safe and well to their families every day.”

 TasRail has reported 44 level crossing ‘failure to stop’ and ‘near hit’ incidents this financial year to date.


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