Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mango Trees Hazard on Queensland Railway

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued its final report on "Collision of passenger trainT842 with station platform, Cleveland,Queensland, 31 January 2013", 20 December 2013. The ATSB found the train wheels slipped due to contamination from nearby trees. "Slippery rail" is a well known in the railway industry. While the cause is usually due to leaves on the track, it can be remarkably hard to predict or combat. As part of the investigation ATSB found there were trees next to, or overhanging the railway line at the top 10 locations where trains had overrun station platforms. One aspect not covered in the report is if the type of vegetation effects rail slip.

The most instances on the Brisbane rail network of station overrun occurred at Lindum railway station. Figure 19 on page 31 of the report shows an overhead shot of the station, pointing to trees nearby. I attended school nearby and recognise the grove of Mango trees in the photo. These trees have a much more dense foliage than native eucalyptus and drop sticky sap filled leaves and twigs as well as fruit. I have suggested to the ATSB that perhaps this causes more wheel slip that other vegetation.

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