Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has welcomed the interim report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on the safety of rail operations on the Melbourne-Sydney interstate rail line.
ARTC CEO, John Fullerton, said that the ATSB interim report had found that the safety of the rail line is being maintained and there was no evidence to suggest that any systemic issues existed that would compromise the safety of rail operations due to the quality of the track.
“ARTC is reassured by this initial finding, because safety is our number one priority in operating all our rail network,” Mr Fullerton said.
“ARTC does recognise, however, that sections of the track between Melbourne and Sydney are affected by poor ballast condition and that track quality deteriorated after widespread heavy rainfall in the region during 2010 and 2011,” Mr Fullerton said.
“Our priority now is to continue work to address the problem and ARTC recently announced a $134 million Ballast Rehabilitation Program to complete the upgrading of the corridor to a standard consistent with the remainder of the interstate network,” Mr Fullerton said.
Mr Fullerton also said that the ATSB interim report identified a number of areas for improvement in the safety of operations and actions will be taken by ARTC to address these matters.
In relation to the ongoing investigation Mr Fullerton said ARTC would continue to cooperate fully with the ATSB as the Bureau concluded its work.