Hines Hill train collision
|Date||14 January 1996|
|Location||Hines Hill, Western Australia|
|Operator||National Rail Corporation|
|Type of incident||Collision|
|Cause||Signal passed at danger|
The Hines Hill train collision occurred on the Eastern Goldfields Railway on 14 January 1996 at Hines Hill, Western Australia. Two trains entered a crossing loop simultaneously in opposing directions, although signals at the exit from the crossing loop were correctly showing red for stop.
The National Rail train in one direction misjudged the stop, and went past the red signal, hitting the last wagons of the Westrail train. These wagons were tankers containing diesel which burst into flames, destroying the train data recorders that might have explained what speed the train was travelling at. Locomotive AN10 was derailed. The driver and a teenage guest passenger were killed. Another person received severe injuries. National Rail locomotives AN10 and DL37 were written off due to being damaged beyond repair. A relay control room which was close to the fire was also destroyed.
The accident happened at night, and there were no distance boards which might have helped the driver of the NR train judge the distance to the stop signal showing red.
In June 1998, Westrail was fined $95,000 with $85,000 in costs. An appeal heard in the Supreme Court of Western Australia set aside the original conviction and Westrail was awarded $23,000 in costs.
The signalling was later altered to prevent trains entering the crossing loop simultaneously.
The accident illustrates the hazard of having crossing loops only just long enough to hold the two trains. If the loop had been longer, the safety distance from the red departure signal to the fouling point with the arriving train would have been larger and the other train would have cleared the single line section so avoiding the collision by some vital seconds.
Since the accident, the crossing loop at Hines Hill has been lengthened for longer 1,800 m trains. The loop is now 2,304 m long, which is considerably longer than the normal longest train. The extra distance provides both a safety margin and faster crosses, since a train entering the loop can clear the single line at a higher speed. It is not known if the simultaneous arrival signalling has been restored.
The extra distance is to accommodate longer trains & has nothing to do with faster crossings as have other crossing loops on the Avon to Kalgoorlie Line
- "Prosecution Details". Department of Commerce: Prosecution Database. Government of Western Australia. 5 Mar 1999. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- Explosives And Dangerous Goods Division. "Summary Of Accident Reports 1996" (PDF). p. 28. ISSN 1038-6254. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- Oberg, Leon (2007). Locomotives of Australia: 1854 to 2007. Rosenberg Publishing. p. 410. ISBN 1877058548. Retrieved 9 July 2013.