Rail, Aviation and Transport

Rail, Aviation and Transport

High Voltage Overhead Wiring Hits Train After Contractor Failed to Tighten Bolts

Peter Moss - Wednesday, December 06, 2017
A section of high voltage overhead wiring fell on a train after contract workers employed by Novo Rail failed to tighten bolts.

The incident at Clarendon, near Richmond, forced Sydney Trains to issue an urgent safety action notice on 9 November.

The notice ordered overhead wiring staff and contractors to tighten bolts and perform quality assurance checks in future.

The safety failure is just the latest involving infrastructure work carried out on the Sydney rail network by the private sector Novo Rail Alliance.

In September, Novo Rail was busted using unqualified employees to perform dangerous high-voltage linework.

On that occasion six Novo Rail workers were ordered off the job at North Strathfield by a Sydney Trains Safety Inspector.

The ETU has received other reports of sloppy, potentially dangerous work by contractors including recently at Glenfield.

ETU President and rail delegate Glen Potter called on Sydney Trains to revise arrangements with Novo Rail with the aim of bring infrastructure work back in-house ‘at the first opportunity’.

‘We are thankful that to this point there has not been a serious injury or fatality,’ said Glen. ‘But these are not isolated incidents.

‘We see a clear pattern of risk involving contractors operating at night and self-checking their work. This latest breach confirms the need for urgent action from Sydney Trains.

‘The private sector’s drive to maximise profits is not compatible with the need to prioritise safety for rail workers and the travelling public.’

Novo Rail is a consortium of contractors working in partnership with NSW Government agency Transport for NSW.

The Novo consortium is made up of contracting giants Aurecon, Laing O’Rourke and RCR Infrastructure O’Donnell Griffin.