Protection systemfaulty according to opposition
THE train protection and warning system monitoring Victoria’s regional fast train project is faulty just two weeks before trains reach speeds of up to 160km/h on the Ballarat line, the Opposition has claimed.The TPWS system is designed to stop trains running through red signals, thus reducing the risk of collision and derailment.But Shadow Minister for Transport Terry Mulder said the new warning system is not yet compatible with the electrics of the old V/Line locomotives, which will run alongside the new V’Locity fast trains.Mr Mulder said the new warning system was triggering false emergency alarms on the old V/Line locomotives. State Government spokesman Matt Nurse yesterday confirmed that testing has identified a “teething problem”, which has since been rectified. After speaking to “sources close to the project”, Mr Mulder claimed there was no train protection warning system operating on V/Line locomotives or any of the four fast train corridors, including Ballarat. “Rail authorities are scrambling to find a solution to the failure, and if this major safety problem can’t be sorted out, then those close to the project have stated that a decision will have to be made to either scrap the time-frame for the introduction of fast train services or allow the V/Line locomotives to operate on the same lines as the fast trains, but without the safety equipment operating,” Mr Mulder said. “Sources close to the project have described the pressure to get the trains running on time before the State Election as oppressive. “Any such glitch in safety equipment that was installed to protect the lives of train travellers must be subjected to the most rigorous testing, and the introduction of a handful of fast trains cannot be allowed to proceed without a personal guarantee from the Premier Steve Bracks that the system is safe.” But Mr Nurse said the new system will mean a second level of safety protection for commuters on top of the existing system. “The new train warning system has been installed in all V’Locity trains and is working well,” Mr Nurse said. “All other trains will be fitted with the new system well in time for the commencement of our improved timetable in two weeks.”
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