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Albanese responds to RTBU pressure on the Sydney to Melbourne rail line

Aug 18, 2011Update

Vigorous RTBU pressure for an investigation into the second-rate resleepering program and dangerous mudholes on the Sydney to Melbourne rail line has delivered results with Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese announcing an inquiry.

The independent investigation into operations comes after a number of dangerous incidents on the line.

Covering safety issues, work practices and the substandard sections of the line, the inquiry announcement finally shows that the concerns continuously voiced by the RTBU are justified.

This is a chance to confirm what drivers and the union have always maintained, that the mudholes are a result of cost-cutting by the government-owned Australian Rail Track Corporation.

While the RTBU welcomes the enquiry, the union awaits the outcome with interest to see whether the ATSB has thoroughly investigated the ongoing issues identified by drivers, and has provided satisfactory recommendations to avoid these problems in the future.

The union will be urging the ATSB to provide an avenue for both the union and concerned members to provide submissions and a chance to be interviewed as part of the enquiry in order to get a complete picture of the issues from workers on the ground.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will look at:

• The operational condition of the interstate rail track and the safety measures currently in place for areas where the track quality is below acceptable operational standards.

• The methods used by the ARTC to remediate the track and how the ARTC has addressed the safety of operations.

• Safeworking practices in relation to the track.

• A systemic review of safety systems, including signalling and the quality assurance of work undertaken on the track.