2. Disaster response protocols

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Rail emergencies require a sustained, coordinated response, with external resources and assistance from non-rail organisations, like police and emergency services.

This emergency could be an event like a gas leak, security threat, bush fire or serious injury, which has or could possibly result in:

  • The death or serious injury of a person
  • Significant damage to property or infrastructure
  • Significant disruption to train services 
  • Significant environmental impact

In these high-stakes situations, Network Control, including Systems Operators, are responsible for regulating all train movements to ensure the safe, proper and efficient operation of the disaster response.

What is ARTC's incident management protocol? 

The ARTC Network has an Incident Management Plan that is trained to all NCCS Operational staff, this document sets the guidelines of responding to an incident on the Network in line with the Rules Requirements. Any issue that presents on the network outside of normal running is a CAN (Condition affecting the Network). Depending on the severity of the CAN responses will vary. Some CAN events are written to Trail Traffic Crew as advice and some are verbal warnings only.

In relation to Bushfire in the corridor the first response for a Network Controller is to STOP all rail traffic crews in the affected area (Make Safe). This can be done by triggering an Emergency Call or placing controlled signals back to STOP Infront of the train. If a train is stopped not at a Controlled Signal a CAN Restraint (Do not Move) will be issued to the rail traffic crew.

Depending on what is known about the situation the Network Controller will contact the Emergency Services and advise of the fire. Network Controller can use GPS information to locate and advise Emergency Services of the area where an issue has been identified.

Network Control will then advise the Maintenance team responsible for the area of the issue and wait until the area is certified “fit for use” i.e no damage to track or infrastructure.

Basically, this process can be divided into 6 steps:


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