Queensland rail operator charged over fatal crash

Tuesday, 18 April, 2023

Queensland rail operator charged over fatal crash

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has filed three charges against Queensland Rail following a fatal train accident at Westwood, near Rockhampton in Queensland, in June 2021. The charges relate to a collision between a QR locomotive and a coal train in which the driver of the locomotive was killed and two other safety workers were injured.

Queensland Rail allegedly failed to comply with its safety duties as an accredited rail transport operator under Rail Safety National Law (RSNL). The matter is being pursued in the interests of rail safety as part of ONRSR’s role to enforce compliance with the RSNL, and in the public interest to provide for the safe carrying out of railway operations and promoting public confidence in rail operations.

The maximum penalty applicable to a rail transport operator for breaches of this kind is $1.5 million per offence.

In a statement, Queensland Rail said it will not contest the prosecution and will work proactively with the National Rail Safety Regulator in relation to the charges to resolve this matter promptly.

Since the incident in 2021, Queensland Rail has implemented a comprehensive program to improve safety on the network, including permanently codifying long-end leading restrictions into its Safety and Environment Management System for all operators on the QR Network, and Signals Passed at Danger (SPAD) prevention activities.

Image credit: iStock.com/Wentao Li

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