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PN Coal – Fumes in Cab

Over the past few months PN members working Gunnedah Basin trains have experienced a marked increase in “Fume in Cab” events through Ardglen Tunnel. The HSR’s from Gunnedah Depot progressed the matter through the Comcare and the Rail Regulator which prompted PN to set up a workshop and conduct further Hygiene Testing of their locomotives.

While members welcomed the workshops and further testing, affected members remain concerned as the testing was random and there has been no actual testing of an actual event. PN’s view is you can’t test an actual event unless one occurs on one of the random tests and refused to accept that any type of simulated test would be of benefit saying such a test would be invalid.

While the test results are yet to be completed, the likelihood of them showing any thing of concern is minimal as they do not test actual events.

PN seem to be taking a head in the sand approach and refuse to acknowledge that the main concern and proven issue is that the 92 and 93 class have poor seal characteristics compared to other locomotives. They also continue to have tunnel vision and keep telling everyone that if you see fumes, it’s all right it won’t hurt you, it’s only the ones you can’t see that are of concern!

Both the regulator and Comcare have assured us they are continuing to monitor fume events. We urge all members across all depots to report all fume in cab events to their supervisor and the network operator.