Member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp has called on the Premier to explain how she has risked the lives of thousands of Novocastrian commuters during her time as Transport Minister.
An independent report* by the Office of Transport Safety Investigations has revealed “systemic” rail safety inadequacies, during Ms Berejiklian’s four years in the position, as a series of significant safety failures went unreported and unchecked.
The report, into a rail defect comprised of corroded or missing rail fastenings in the Boronia Tunnel, that went uninspected in 2014 along the Newcastle & Central Coast train line, has also revealed:
“The unrestrained track had the potential to displace laterally to the extent that a derailment could have occurred.” – and was classified at the highest emergency level – E1
“The inspection revealed that there was significant corrosion of the track fastenings and that the rail was no longer adequately restrained.”
An examination of the Boronia tunnel was due in September 2011 and again in 2013, but it was never inspected; and
- Insufficient staff levels and staff training meant these inspections were delayed or didn’t take place.
This follows the recent shocking announcement that in the next fleet of Intercity trains, in most cases there will only be one crew member on board. By only have one driver and no cabin crew, passengers and rail staff will be left alone and unassisted in the event of an emergency.
This also recaps the 2015 incident when the NSW Opposition revealed that Sydney Trains had not repaired the Hawkesbury River Rail Bridge despite being warned two years earlier that repairs were needed within six months.
Ms Berejiklian’s legacy as Transport Minister also included the CBD South East Light Rail blow-out and her decision to buy trains from South Korea which won’t fit the tracks in the Blue Mountains.
Quotes attributable to Member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp
“Another day, another report of this Government’s lack of concern for the state’s commuters.”
“It is an absolute disgrace that Newcastle commuters were subject to life-threatening faults in the track that could have allowed a derailment.”
“There are systemic failures in track maintenance across the train network and the recent announcement that there will be only one crew member on each train does not equate to a safe commute. This is an accident waiting to happen.”