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Derailed XPT train was travelling 85km/h above speed limit

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

A preliminary report into the deadly train crash north of Melbourne has revealed the XPT train was travelling above the speed limit when it derailed at Wallan.

A preliminary report into the deadly train crash north of Melbourne has revealed the XPT train was travelling more than 85km/h above the speed limit when it derailed through a passing loop at Wallan.

The report released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau today confirms the train, which was travelling from Sydney to Melbourne on February 20, entered the passing loop at a speed of more than 100km/h, despite the speed limit being 15km/h.

The train's driver John Kennedy, 54, from Canberra and Victorian pilot Sam Meintanis, 49, died in the crash shortly after the train left the tracks near Wallan station at 7.45pm.

Three of the 153 passengers onboard were seriously injured and 36 suffered minor injuries. Five train crew also sustained injuries.

"Earlier that afternoon, the points at either end of the Wallan loop had been changed from their 'Normal' position to their 'Reverse' position, which meant that rail traffic, in both directions, would be diverted from the Main Line into the loop track," ATSB Chief Commissioner Greg Hood said.

"A Train Notice reflected this change and also specified a 15 km/h speed limit for entry into the loop."

The train's data logger showed an emergency brake application was applied a short distance from the points before entering the passing loop.

"This slowed the train a small amount before it entered the turnout travelling at a speed in excess of 100km/h," Mr Hood said.

"The train was not able to negotiate the turnout to the loop track at this speed and derailed.

"All vehicles derailed excepting the rear power car."

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The report detailed a 24-kilometre section of track between Kilmore East and Donnybrook incorporating Wallan was being managed by an "alternative safe working system" due to damaged signalling equipment.

The accompanying qualified worker also boarded the lead power car near Kilmore and joined the driver as part of the alternative system.

Footage from inside the derailed XPD train shows the carriage rocking heavily

"The continuing investigation will explore a range of factors, including a detailed examination of the alternative safe working systems; the operation of the train; the conditions of the track and rolling stock; and crew and passenger survivability including a passenger survey," Mr Hood said.

The preliminary report details facts established in the investigation's early evidence collection phase, including the sequence of events, track information and data downloaded from the train's data logger.

Mr Hood said the final investigation report, which would include contributing factors, safety issues and findings, could take more than 18 months to complete.

"However, should any safety critical information be discovered at any time during the investigation, we will immediately notify operators and regulators, and make that publicly known," he said.

Source: 9News

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