No injuries in truck spill on main rail line

The truck, laden with fi ll, closed the rail line for several hoursThe truck, laden with fill, closed the rail line for several hours.

A tip truck and dog trailer laden with fill for the Kangy Angy Train Maintenance Facility site rolled on to the train track at around 9:15am on Friday, October 19.

Transport fort NSW confirmed the truck was carrying fill material for the maintenance site and had the correct permissions and related safety arrangements in place. Around 15 buses had to replace trains in both directions between Gosford and Wyong. The truck and trailer were travelling on an access road within the rail corridor between Ourimbah and Tuggerah near the Kangy Angy maintenance facility site, according to the Transport for NSW statement. “The trailer appears to have tipped into the shoulder of the main rail line and its spoil has spilled onto the Newcastle-bound track,” it said. “The driver of the truck was not injured and the truck itself remained upright.

Flooding at the construction site for the rail maintenance facility.

Flooding at the construction site for the rail maintenance facility.

“All work was stopped at the maintenance facility site at Kangy Angy so a safety assessment could be completed. “Work is being restarted on site as this assessment progresses. “At this stage no environmental impacts have been identified but we will continue to monitor this as the truck and trailer is salvaged and the area cleared.” The Kangy Angy Residents Action Group (KARAG) said the incident had occurred at the John Holland site.

“This is one of the many trucks bringing in materials to build up the area needed to construct the train facility on a flood plain,” the KARAG facebook page said.

“So much fill would not have been necessary at the alternative sites. “So many constraints, problems, safety concerns and delays have arisen with this site. “Are contractors now cutting corners and rushing to get the job completed by the deadline, endangering the safety of others?”

Local residents contacted John Holland Group, WorkSafe NSW and ComCare regarding the use of the single lane maintenance road running parallel to the trains and overhead, live power lines.

“Imagine the catastrophe had this happened as a passenger train was passing or even approaching as this is a fast section of the track,” said Kevin Armstrong, a Tumbi Umbi resident who had worked for Transport for NSW.

“As a former senior foreman with State Rail, I am well-informed about rail safe working procedures, in fact, I was responsible for a lot of work installing overhead wiring structures down Cowan bank to Hawkesbury River and also for upgrading of tracks through Woy Woy Tunnel,” Armstrong said. “I shudder to contemplate the scale of potential disaster, serious injury and maybe loss of many lives, had a passenger train been passing at the time of the rollover,” he said.

“At best, the train may have derailed, at worst, the sides of the carriages would likely have been ripped open like a can opener on a sardine can. “Tracks along railway lines are not roads and not intended for high traffic use. “In this case, John Holland, construction contractor for the new Train Maintenance Facility at Kangy Angy, is using the maintenance track as a heavy haulage route for hundreds of tippers and dogs hauling thousands of tonnes of fly-ash fill to their Kangy Angy site.

“Whilst John Holland is the contractor, Transport for NSW would have approved this haulage arrangement which the incident clearly demonstrates is unsafe,” he said. Armstrong said he had since received assurances from Comcare that the access road would not be used for haulage of fill until concrete barriers are installed between the road and train line.

In a written statement, John Holland Group said: “Safety is our number one priority and we apologise for any inconvenience caused to rail passengers. “We are undertaking a thorough investigation to avoid an incident like this reoccurring,” the statement said. “Vehicles only use the corridor when there are no trains in the area, however, no further trucks will use the corridor until the investigation is complete.” It is understood around 60 trucks per day had been using a section of the rail corridor to bring materials and machinery in and out of the maintenance facility construction site. Boral is supplying the light-weight fill which is being used to level and stabilise the ground where the buildings will be placed.

Source: Media statement, Oct 19 Transport for NSW Media statement, Oct 29 Alicia Wood, John Holland Group Interview, Oct 25 Kevin Armstrong, Tumbi Umbi Media statement, Oct 19 Kangy Angy Residents Action Group Jackie Pearson, journalist