27 Apr 2012

Kiwirail accepts TAIC report on near collision

8:39 pm on 27 April 2012

KiwiRail has accepted a Transport Accident Investigation Commission report that found poor communication by its staff and the train operator, Veolia, nearly led to a collision on Auckland's southern railway.

The incident happened in January last year, when a train that was supposed to stop at Papakura was told to enter a section of track that a train travelling from the opposite direction was also told to use.

The commission found a train controller had intended to stop one of the trains for the other to pass, but forgot when the time came.

Staff had been alerted to the potential for a head-on collision by the head of a construction site where the track between Papakura and Wiri stations was being upgraded.

KiwiRail says it accepts the report's findings and following the incident took immediate steps to prevent another similar incident.

Chief executive Jim Quinn says he has every confidence in the safety of Kiwirail's network.

"We implement the learnings quickly to minimise the risk of human error, to minimise the risk of system failure. We're very conscious of our responsibility and very conscious that we take steps immediately."

Kiwirail also says it has installed new signalling technology on Auckland's rail network and robust cross-checking procedures.