The following report has been prepared to identify the main causes of a particular train accident. Train Accidents are believed to be caused by different kind of reasons. The main reasons behind this are generally safety breaches or safety failures occurring as a result of different problems (Naweed, Rose, Larue & Wullems, 2016). The report aims to research on the details of the accident and identify the causes involved in the accident. The report will also be providing a proper recommendation on how to avoid such breaches and minimize or totally mitigate the chances of train accidents.
The following report is prepared on the basis of the Granville Train Disaster that occurred on the 18th of January, 1977. The accident occurred in Granville, New South Wales which is one of the western suburbs of Sydney. The incident occurred in the mentioned site when a crowded commuter train derailed and hit into the supports of a road bridge above resulting into a freefall of the bridge onto two of the carriages of the bridge. The following train accident has been selected in this respect due to the severity of the incident. The accident remains one of the major accidents in the history of Australian rail travel. A total of 85 people died officially and injuries of more than 250 persons were reported. However as a direct or indirect result of such a terrifying incident there were more than 1300 people who were affected. The train that was involved in the accident consisted of eight different carriages and was being carried over by a 46 class electric locomotive 4620. The train was on its way to Blue Mountains.
The mishap occurred while approaching the Granville Railway station as the engine derailed and then hit a concrete pillar supporting an overhead bridge. The engine that got derailed and the first two carriages of the train crossed the track but the derailment led to the severe mishap. The first carriage was torn open when it collided with a severe mast (Azlis-Sani, Dawal & Zakwan, 2018). The following collision led to the immediate death of eight passengers. The severe jolt that the train received made the second carriage to topple around and the absence of any support to the bridge made the bridge along with the other cars over it come down over the other carriages of the train instantly killing most of the people inside the carriages and injuring the others. More than half of the passengers travelling in the third and the fourth carriages were killed immediately by the massive weight of the bridge along with the cars. An investigation later on revealed that the presence of LPG cylinders in the carriages made it a more complex situation as the pressure of the collapsed bridge led to its leakage and finally many passengers died due to suffocation (Chalmers & Lal 2016).
Causes of the train Accident
According to, Chalmers & Lal (2016) the severity of the train accident can be assessed by the number of people dying in the accident. There was a thorough and detailed enquiry into the accident which revealed a number of different facts. The primary case of the crash was the poor condition of the permanent way that led to the poor fastening of the track. This led the track to spread over and allowed the left front wheel of the engine to separate from the train. The main cause of the train coming off the lines was attributed to the following. However a totally new cause emerged out of the blue some 30 years after the train accident. The investigation that was done at the time of the original accident was uncovered only recently. The main cause of the accident was cited upon the Locomotive that was driving the railway carriages. The 46 class electric locomotive that was involved in the accident failed to avoid the accident as because it was not maintained properly and internal reports showed that the locomotive had already expired its regular service period. However, the absence of similar replacements and also to save costs, the authority did not paid heed to the report. The L6 wheel that was used in the locomotive was found unfit for use in commercial operations. Apart from this the wheel even crossed the crossover point Lead 73 which was the final point. This made the engine to abruptly jump off the tracks and hit the pillar of the bridge. The turning was fatal for the train as the change of the direction made the train hit the bridge leading it to collapse along with other loads. Apart from that the bridge itself was 1 meter lower than the road. The concrete being added to the top increased the load of the bridge and led to the collapse of the structure over the carriages of the train.
There were a number of different safety breaches that occurred in the following accident. The safety of the tracks, safety of the locomotives, the wheels, the carriages, the structures in and around the railway lines must all be considered in the safety audit and thus cannot be neglected. The safety breach occurred in the locomotive and the wheel of the locomotive which was in a fatigue state and already past its prime. According to, (McFarlane & Van Hooff, 2014) apart from it the faulty construction of the bridge was also to be blamed. However, the most important safety breach was perhaps the permission given by the New South Wales Railway Authority to the Class 42 Locomotives to operate.
Policies of the train accident
The worst train accident of Australia in decades took just seconds to happen but was a decade or more in the making. The following train crash took almost around 83 lives along with injuring more than 213 other people. The following accident taught the people about the inadequacies in the operating system of New South Wales railway maintenance and also taught the emergency services a lesson about the welfare of the workers like those who raced against time to rescue the survivors on such a gruesome hot day. The defects that occurred should have been identified and repaired with the failures reaching into the highest echelons of the following transport commission (Naweed, Rose, Larue & Wullems, 2016). Apart from this there were also budgetary constraints as the loss of a large amount of money before some days stopped the authority to change the locomotive which was totally unfit for use. The railway improvement plan was put into place just a few days after the accident by the new party that came into power in Australia.
As mentioned earlier the New South Wales Train company along with the Australian Government decided to implement the railway improvement plan in the continent to avoid accidents like Granville train accident. The recommendations that can be provided to avoid such kind of train accidents in future are as follows;
- The main aim of the following program has been to reduce the train accidents in Australia.
- The following plan aims to reduce and mitigate all the different accidents that are generally involved. This includes train accidents with other transportation mediums, train accidents involving two different trains, train accidents involving other sources and many more as such
- The presence of certified volunteers to oversee the tracks, the locomotives and assist the engineers and the people in charge of the maintenance will help to maintain the safety and ensure the absence of any accidents
- The people walking or driving cars must be extra sensitive and they must stop once they spot the train and pass the lines only after the passage of the trains.
- The trailer jacks of the trucks must not get stuck with the railroad tracks.
- The speed and the large weight the train carries makes it harder for it to stop and thus it must be always considered
The following report has explained the Granville train disaster and the causes that led to the disaster in detail. The analysis of the following report will help the readers to get an idea of the different types of the causes and incidents that leads to severe train accidents. The report highlights that even a simple negligence can lead to a loss of many lives. The report has provided a number of recommendations that are identical to the safety features of the train networks across the world and especially in Australia.
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