A hearing date has been locked in for the prosecution of two agencies over a fatal train derailment in Victoria more than two years ago.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation and NSW Trains each failed to ensure sufficient safety measures existed on the fatal journey, the National Rail Safety Regulator has alleged in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, where two charges have been laid against each of the organisations.
Shortly before 8pm on February 20, 2020, a Sydney to Melbourne XPT train carrying 153 passengers derailed at Wallan, about 40km north of Melbourne, after it failed to negotiate a passing loop.
Train driver John Kennedy, 54, and train pilot Sam Meintanis, 49, died as a result.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) found that the train was travelling at more than 100km/h when it entered a passing loop, which had a 15km/h limit, causing five carriages to derail.
The lead power car, or the first carriage, rolled onto its left side, killing Mr Kennedy and Mr Meintanis.
Of the 153 passengers, eight sustained serious injuries and 53 received minor injuries.
According to the ATSB, the train’s data logger showed the train made an emergency brake application a short distance before the passing the loop.
The ATSB said points at either end of the Wallan Loop had been changed from the “normal” position to the “reverse” position, meaning rail traffic would be diverted from the main line into the loop track.
It said a train notice reflected this change and specified a 15km/h limit for entry into the loop.
Due to damaged signalling equipment, a 24km section of the track between Kilmore East and Donnybrook, including Wallan, was being managed by an “alternative safe working system”’ the ATSB said.
Mr Meintanis joined the train near Kilmore as part of the safe working system, it said.
Magistrate Robert Stary adjourned the matter to a committal mention on March 2 2023.
Story Credit: news.com.au