The Baird Government continues to ignore a key recommendation from the Independent Transport Safety Regulator (ITSR) after the 2003 Waterfall train disaster – despite it being made a decade ago.
Recommendation 38 aims to ensure all workers across the rail network communicate using the same technology:
There must be compatibility of communication systems throughout the rail network. It is essential that all train drivers, train controllers, signalers, train guards and supervisors of trackside work gangs in NSW be able to communicate using the same technology.
Currently, train workers use more than one communication system across its network.
Despite the severity and urgency of the recommendation, a 2015 report from the ITSR indicated the target date for implementation had now been pushed back yet again from 31 January 2016 to 31 March 2016.
The excuse for ongoing risk to commuters through these delays has been put down to the contractor’s poor performance in testing the software.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Ryan Park
“Commuter safety should be the first priority for any government: every passenger has the right to feel secure on our public transport network.”
“This critical recommendation has been pushed back with little explanation to the community or guarantee that it won’t happen again.
“The Baird Government needs to own up and explain how a contractor’s poor performance can be an excuse for jeopardising commuter safety.”
“When it comes to commuter safety, no one ever wants to see a situation of too little, too late.”