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RailCorp ‘no whistle’ policy stalls

Nov 19, 2011Update

RailCorp’s plans to reduce the use of train whistles in tunnels have stalled as a result of concerns raised by the RTBU on the four proposed “whistle / no whistle” signs offered by RailCorp.

Describing the signs as “clumsy” the RTBU reps found that the signs were not visible enough, particularly in daylight hours, to guarantee that the driver would able to visually identify the status before entering tunnels.

Concerns about reporting and information correlation from the electronic boards were also raised. In the event of a driver missing the signal to initiate the whistle there is no way of knowing whether the sign was fully operational at the time or whether it would be deemed driver error during an enquiry. RailCorp also failed to provide procedures to go with the proposed signs.

RTBU representatives have said that fail-proof electronic equipment should be sought, such the Sydney Harbour Bridge electronic intruder alert system including CCTV. If someone is detected in the tunnel, train control would contact the signaller, who then alerts all trains in the area to immediately stop via enacting the emergency stop message on the train radio.

The RTBU is awaiting an alternative proposal from RailCorp that provides a better safety control measures.