Fatal crash after train passes through Toodyay
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
FEDERAL rail safety investigators are examining a fatal train crash that disrupted freight and passenger services on the busy east-west rail link through Toodyay on Christmas Eve.
The line was closed for three days after a freight train ran into the rear of a stationary grain train at Jumperkine, about 25km east of Perth.
The collision occurred at 2am on December 24 after both trains had passed through Toodyay on their way to Perth.Read more
The front of the Pacific National locomotive cabin was crushed by the impact which upended the rear wagon of the grain train and spilled tonnes of grain and other wreckage onto the track.
Emergency crews worked day and night over the Christmas break to clear the line.
AvonLink and Prospector rail passengers were transferred to road coaches on Christmas Eve.
No AvonLink or Prospector services were scheduled to run on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and the line was reopened on December 27.
The crash is being investigated by the Canberra-based Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which operates a WA regional office at Perth Airport.
The bureau reported that both trains were substantially damaged.
The 61-year-old deceased man from Perth was employed by Pacific National, an Australian freight train operator based in Sydney.
He had previously worked as a police officer, youth worker and train driver in New Zealand, and was a leading member of the Mormon Church in Perth.
The grain train was operated by US transport company Watco, which lists WA grain handler CBH as its biggest Australian customer.
The line operator is Arc Infrastructure (formerly Brookfield Rail), which manages 5500km of rail in WA’s South-West and is owned by global Canadian company Brookfield Infrastructure Partners.
Federal investigators will examine the rolling stock and track infrastructure layout, interview workers and staff, analyse train computer records and inspect relevant documents.
The safety bureau said it expected to take more than six months to complete its investigation and release a final report.
“Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify those affected and seek safety action to address the issue,” the bureau said.
About 500 hundred mourners attended the deceased driver’s funeral in Greenmount last month.