A rail worker caused chaos near a station, narrowly avoiding being hit by a train — twice — and prompting a major search for a mystery trespasser.
A rail worker caused chaos near a station, narrowly avoiding being hit by a train — twice — and prompting a major search for a mystery trespasser.

Rail worker on toilet run almost hit by train — twice

A rail safety worker who snuck off the job to find a toilet was seconds away from being hit by two trains then went straight back to work without telling anyone about the chaos - which included drivers emergency braking and a major search for a mystery trespasser.

A transport investigation into how the bungle occurred in September 2018 has also revealed that the worker - who was based in the eastern suburbs tunnel - had signed a sheet which said they had received induction training despite not attending a safety briefing.

The Daily Telegraph requested footage of the incident and the moments leading up to it but Sydney Trains refused to provide the video.

Redfern train station. Picture: Transport for NSW
Redfern train station. Picture: Transport for NSW

The rail safety worker left the job site in the eastern suburbs tunnel to relieve themselves at Redfern Station's public toilets just before 9am, a report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said.

After answering nature's call they tried to get back to work, but because barricades blocked their return path the worker decided to take the airport tunnel.

While walking back in the tunnel the worker heard a train coming, forcing the worker to cling to the wall three seconds before a train passed by at 45km/h.

The train driver, seeing they had nearly hit someone, made an emergency stop and told the area controller about the near miss.

And the drama continued - the worker moved past the stopped train only to cross into the path of another train.

That train was also forced to activate its emergency brake.

The path a Sydney rail worker took to get to the toilet.
The path a Sydney rail worker took to get to the toilet.

The area controller warned other train drivers of a possible trespasser.

The ATSB report said the worker completed their shift without telling anyone of their near-death experiences.

The worker then went to get medical treatment for their hand, and finally told their shift manager an hour and 45 minutes after leaving for the day, saying they had been too "scared" to report it earlier, the report said.

The investigation found there were several factors leading up to the near-misses, including the worker's fatigue and the fact he had no site induction.

The staff member had worked two overtime shifts before having trouble sleeping due to a family medical issue.

The report also found that Sydney Trains "did not ensure that all workers entering the worksite were identified and received an induction".

The path a Sydney rail worker took to get to the toilet. Picture: Supplied
The path a Sydney rail worker took to get to the toilet. Picture: Supplied

Since the incident Sydney Trains advised the ATSB that it has acknowledged the safety issue and will follow its business management processes to address it.

A Sydney Trains spokeswoman said it had reviewed the report.

"This incident highlights the importance of planning and controlling worksites within the rail corridor, in particular when working within tunnels and at platforms where access can be from multiple locations," she said.

"Sydney Trains is undertaking safety action to address the issue identified by the ATSB and has proactively briefed the signals support team, including lessons learned from the incident and reminders to Project Owners to conduct thorough risk assessments so that all site specific hazards are identified."

Originally published as Rail worker on toilet run almost hit by train - twice


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