Brisbane train crash raises track issues

Last updated 08:51 01/02/2013
Reuters

On January 31, 2013 a passenger train smashed into a platform at a suburban Brisbane station, injuring 14 people.

Brisbane train derailment
Bayside Bulletin Zoom
The extent of the damage to the train can be seen as it is pulled out of the Brisbane station.

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As Queensland Rail began investigating why a train ploughed 10 metres into Brisbane's Cleveland Train Station on Thursday, other drivers were coming forward to report braking problems.

One driver who wished to remain anonymous said he was forced to apply his emergency brakes while on his regular route on Thursday morning - and he said he was not the only one.

The driver, who was working on a different rail line, said he was finding it difficult to brake at stations, experiencing what he called "slip and slide".

"It's just like in a car where you are skidding on water," he said.

"When I got to one station I actually had to put on the emergency brakes to actually stop the train at the platform, because the slip sliding was causing me to go past where I was supposed to stop at the platform.

"Slip slide itself is a fairly common occurrence for trains, but the degree of slip slide I got [Thursday] morning was quite unusual."

He said standard procedure during such conditions was to brake earlier.

He said another train crew experienced a similar issue on Wednesday and also had to apply the emergency brake.

But he said employees did not believe it was systemic problem with the trains or tracks.

"Talking to other crews, their opinion was with the heavy rain from the last few days and all the leaf litter on the track, including eucalyptus leaves because of the storms, when the train goes over the leaves on the rails, it is actually pulping the leaves, making oil, and causing the trains to slip," he said.

"They did send a locomotive to put sand on one of the tracks to help get some grip.

"It's just like they do in snow. They put a grip down so you don't slip."

However, the driver maintained train travel was safe.

"We have a service to do and a lot of work goes in to making that service safe and reliable," he said.

A report on the Cleveland station crash is expected to be handed down in three months.

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