News

Investigation into Brisbane train crash continues

Damage after a train went off the tracks at Cleveland Station.
Damage after a train went off the tracks at Cleveland Station. Brisbane Times - Brian Hurst

A GUN crash investigator has been dispatched from Melbourne to lead the Federal investigation into how and why a Queensland Rail commuter train ploughed into a station in Brisbane, injuring 24, 10 of whom were sent to hospital.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has been called in by the Queensland Government - its investigation to run in parallel with those headed by Queensland Rail and the Queensland Department of Transport.

The commuter carriages were craned from the rail lines overnight, after smashing into the Cleveland train station at 9.40am on Thursday.

The ATSB's team of three investigators based in Brisbane were immediately dispatched to the scene, with their Adelaide counterpart joining them on Friday.

If they find a "critical safety issue", QR could be forced to consider shutting down its entire network.

ATSB general manager of surface safety investigations Peter Foley said there was no indication of that so far.

"There is no suggestion that peoples' safety is in peril," he said.

"It's day one."I can't pre-empt what we'll find and I won't."

It would be 30 days before the regulator released a preliminary report, this would tell the story of what happened.

A comprehensive version analysing the minutiae of the crash may be released within 12 months but Mr Foley said, "big things take time".

"It's big in the sense that more than a dozen people were injured and potentially it could have been much worse," Mr Foley said."We won't leave any stone unturned."

The Rail Tram and Bus Union ordered members on Friday afternoon not to work on or operate similar trains to the one involved in the crash, warning the crash may be caused by a brake failure.It was unclear at the time of publishing what impact, if any, this would have on commuters.

It is believed this type of train makes up one-third of QR's trains.

The ATSB is a powerful safety authority, able to investigate airline, marine and rail crashes with 60 highly-trained minds able to swing in on any incident.

Having now been pulled in by Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson, the ATSB will gather information from witnesses and decipher the pivotal moments recorded on the "locomotive data logger".

This is the train's equivalent of a aircraft's black box.

The ATSB will use evidence compiled by Queensland Rail, Department of Transport and the Queensland Police Service as part of its own investigation.

Mr Foley said it was a "very wise decision" for the state to call in his team.

Each of the six carriages of the train were removed by 4.30am on Friday.

Queensland Rail said it was yet to learn when the Cleveland station would reopen.

Topics:  australian transport safety bureau, investigation, queensland rail, train crash



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