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Waterfall is situated in NSW, Australia. There was a big train disaster in 2003.Seven people were killed in that accident including the train driver.

A  Tangara intercity train service, set G7, departed waterfall train station moving towards port Kembla station. The driver suffered a heart attack and lost control of the train. The train derailed and overturned and collided with the rocky walls [1].

There were some main causes of the accident. Angara trains have special safety devices such that dead man's break to handle problem when driver becomes incapacitated.The deadman's system consisted of a twist control on master controller and foot pedal and it was the driver safety control.

City rail rolling stock is often divided into two driver and two driven (trailer) carriages. Four car services contains one set of four, six car services contains a set of four driven and two driver carriages and eight car services are two sets of four carriages[2].

The main causes of the accident were: (1) The dead weight of the unconscious driver appeared to be enough to defeat deadman's pedal.(2)The design of the deadman's pedal was not operatable  as intended with driver size.(3)There was break failure and power surge problem.

“This figure is taken from the article written on website whose link is in reference section.The pedal showing the floor, pedal, and cam/spring/micro-switch unit (left) and master controller. http://www.leadingedgesafety.com.au/FolioFiles/175/711-Waterfall%20role%20of%20HF.pdf.” [3]

The design process and selection of pedal forces was not determined. According to the reports flaws had been considered problems in Tangara operational life. The design process of the pedal was not accurate. There were some technical problems which included brake failure and power surge. According to the reports there was large acceleration before the accident. It was also an understanding that the emergency brakes should be seldom used because the train would accelerate between 5km/h and 10 km/h before the brake was pressed.

Apart from deadman's system failure, there was lack of engineering factors relating to track and rolling stock. The systemic causes of the accident were the failures of risk controls in the areas of medical standard, deadman system and training. No hardware devices were fitted and there was no vigilance control device. Human was the only back up who was controlling the train. Safety management system was not too much effective and was not fully integrated.


We can draw conclusion from the above discussion that Engineering approach is required to handle the issues related to safety and reliability in rail. Human factors data are required by the designers to procure the system. The rail management should include comprehensive programs for railway workers in order to ensure workers are perfect for duty.