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The train driver in this instance had several weeks earlier received a radio call about a divergent path to bypass a disabled passenger train at Otahuhu. However, on this occasion he did not receive a similar radio call warning him that his train was not going to follow the usual path.

The circumstances of this latest accident provide further evidence that additional advice to train drivers about conditions that are likely to affect their trains can help to prevent accidents.

Currently the KiwiRail policy on the issue is unclear, which can lead to uncertainty among train drivers and, as in this case, false expectations among drivers, causing them to not pay full attention to the trackside signals to which they should be driving.

The Commission recommends that the Chief Executive of KiwiRail provide clear guidelines to train controllers on the practice of providing additional advice to train drivers on route setting or any other unusual factors that are likely to affect the progress of or the manner in which they drive their trains.
Reply Text
KiwiRail's current safety system deals with the issue of train driver advice through prescribing by rule the occasions Train Control must advise train drivers about any changes to routes. The absence otherwise of a rule means advice is not intended to be provided.

Advice to train drivers about a signalled route ahead is only intended to be given when there is a clear operational need (often not directly related to the signal itself) - such as a change in platform requiring a guard to operate different doors, or a locomotive engineer [train driver] crew change.

KiwiRail's safety system only prescribes mandatory circumstances when Locomotive Engineers need to be advised of a change in signal. To reduce the chances of a false expectation of pre-emptive signal advice by Locomotive Engineers, the safety system will be amended (through training or other appropriate means) to state the circumstances for which advice is not intended to be given.
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