Tour Bus collides with Puffing Billy

 
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Any suggestion that all buses of that model should be taken off the road is ignorant. If it is shown that a mechanical fault was the reason the bus failed to stop, then the operator of that bus should have their entire fleet assessed. That is the correct action to take in that situation.

A properly driven, well maintained vehicle should never have issues braking on such a road. Poor or non existant maintenence is a known problem with these tour operators. My money is on that being the cause of the incident.

As for the dangling leg ban, Passengers on trains operated by the PBR are under the care of the PBR. not the care of every single motorist in the area. The PBR can not control every vehicle that interfaces with their railway, all they can do is put in the appropriate safe guards. On the sort of roads that cross that track, with their trains having a maximum permissable speed of no more than 40km/h I can't see that boom gates are necessery, If there had of been operating boom gates on this occasion, they wouldn't have stopped the bus hitting the train. Booms are not necessary.

Seat Belts, that is just ludicrous.

Remember, nobody on the train was injured. It's hard to see how that outcome would have been the same if somebodies legs had of been pinned between the carriage and the bus.

Despite everything, I expect the leg dangling will return after the investigation is complete.

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  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

Any suggestion that all buses of that model should be taken off the road is ignorant. If it is shown that a mechanical fault was the reason the bus failed to stop, then the operator of that bus should have their entire fleet assessed. That is the correct action to take in that situation.

A properly driven, well maintained vehicle should never have issues braking on such a road. Poor or non existant maintenence is a known problem with these tour operators. My money is on that being the cause of the incident.

As for the dangling leg ban, Passengers on trains operated by the PBR are under the care of the PBR. not the care of every single motorist in the area. The PBR can not control every vehicle that interfaces with their railway, all they can do is put in the appropriate safe guards. On the sort of roads that cross that track, with their trains having a maximum permissable speed of no more than 40km/h I can't see that boom gates are necessery, If there had of been operating boom gates on this occasion, they wouldn't have stopped the bus hitting the train. Booms are not necessary.

Seat Belts, that is just ludicrous.

Remember, nobody on the train was injured. It's hard to see how that outcome would have been the same if somebodies legs had of been pinned between the carriage and the bus.

Despite everything, I expect the leg dangling will return after the investigation is complete.
Gman_86
A Hi Rail vehicle collided with a rail motor on the Zig Zag Railway in NSW and the whole operation was closed down by the safety regulator. A potentially more serious event occurs on the PBR and you expect no changes in procedures to occur. You must be dreaming.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Any suggestion that all buses of that model should be taken off the road is ignorant. If it is shown that a mechanical fault was the reason the bus failed to stop, then the operator of that bus should have their entire fleet assessed. That is the correct action to take in that situation.

A properly driven, well maintained vehicle should never have issues braking on such a road. Poor or non existant maintenence is a known problem with these tour operators. My money is on that being the cause of the incident.

As for the dangling leg ban, Passengers on trains operated by the PBR are under the care of the PBR. not the care of every single motorist in the area. The PBR can not control every vehicle that interfaces with their railway, all they can do is put in the appropriate safe guards. On the sort of roads that cross that track, with their trains having a maximum permissable speed of no more than 40km/h I can't see that boom gates are necessery, If there had of been operating boom gates on this occasion, they wouldn't have stopped the bus hitting the train. Booms are not necessary.

Seat Belts, that is just ludicrous.

Remember, nobody on the train was injured. It's hard to see how that outcome would have been the same if somebodies legs had of been pinned between the carriage and the bus.

Despite everything, I expect the leg dangling will return after the investigation is complete.
A Hi Rail vehicle collided with a rail motor on the Zig Zag Railway in NSW and the whole operation was closed down by the safety regulator. A potentially more serious event occurs on the PBR and you expect no changes in procedures to occur. You must be dreaming.
nswtrains
Was the Hi-Rail on or off the track?
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

A Hi Rail vehicle collided with a rail motor on the Zig Zag Railway in NSW and the whole operation was closed down by the safety regulator.............
nswtrains
Not surprised. Both were operated by Zig Zag Railway.


Any suggestion that all buses of that model should be taken off the road is ignorant. ……..
Gman_86
Could be a design fault. Such faults are sometimes only discovered, or publicly acknowledged, after an accident. Given the vehicle was probably fitted with ABS and, hence, unlikely to have left tyre marks when braking, my money is on the mobile phone.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
A Hi Rail vehicle collided with a rail motor on the Zig Zag Railway in NSW and the whole operation was closed down by the safety regulator. A potentially more serious event occurs on the PBR and you expect no changes in procedures to occur. You must be dreaming.
nswtrains
The Zig Zag incident was a safeworking breach where all contributing factors (personnel training, vehicle condition, track condition) were under the control of the Zig Zag Railway. Level crossing incidents like the one that occurred at Puffing Billy last week are fundamentally different; drivers on the public road over the level crossing are a hazard that can't be controlled by better training and procedures on the Railway's part.

A leg dangling ban won't fix the root cause: drivers that can't/won't stop at occupied level crossings. However, it would mitigate the consequences of a hypothetical future level crossing accident.

Ultimately it will come down to how much the PR damage of a leg dangling ban will translate into damaging Puffing Billy's ticket sales. I suspect that it won't. Much of Puff's revenue comes from overseas tourists on group/package tours who don't actually make the ticket booking decision and thus, don't care about there being a ban on leg dangling.
It could hurt the 'traditional' local family market segment, as Puff is a rather expensive family outing option already and not being able to indulge in leg-dangling is the sort of thing that ends up being the final straw in a purchasing decision.

Time will tell, and I'm sure the accident investigation report will be interesting reading.
  TomBTR Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
Whilst it may happen, no railway allows people to sit on the platform edge. If you’re behind the white line when the train arrives you can’t be sitting on the platform edge.
kitchgp
One place where it seems to be tolerated is Ireland. I was horrified when I first saw a woman sitting on the platform edge in Dublin but then I saw that it is quite a common practice, particularly at unmanned stations. However they always play a "Train Coming" announcement in plenty of time for folks to lift their legs clear.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

A Hi Rail vehicle collided with a rail motor on the Zig Zag Railway in NSW and the whole operation was closed down by the safety regulator. A potentially more serious event occurs on the PBR and you expect no changes in procedures to occur. You must be dreaming.
The Zig Zag incident was a safeworking breach where all contributing factors (personnel training, vehicle condition, track condition) were under the control of the Zig Zag Railway. Level crossing incidents like the one that occurred at Puffing Billy last week are fundamentally different; drivers on the public road over the level crossing are a hazard that can't be controlled by better training and procedures on the Railway's part.

A leg dangling ban won't fix the root cause: drivers that can't/won't stop at occupied level crossings. However, it would mitigate the consequences of a hypothetical future level crossing accident.

Ultimately it will come down to how much the PR damage of a leg dangling ban will translate into damaging Puffing Billy's ticket sales. I suspect that it won't. Much of Puff's revenue comes from overseas tourists on group/package tours who don't actually make the ticket booking decision and thus, don't care about there being a ban on leg dangling.
It could hurt the 'traditional' local family market segment, as Puff is a rather expensive family outing option already and not being able to indulge in leg-dangling is the sort of thing that ends up being the final straw in a purchasing decision.

Time will tell, and I'm sure the accident investigation report will be interesting reading.
LancedDendrite
So you don't call leg dangling at least a potential safe working breach?
  steamfreak Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wodonga, VIC
Perhaps PB could allow said leg-dangling on certain sections of the railway, with green/red lights fitted to the NBH coaches to indicate leg-dangling permissibility status at any time?

Another alternative would be to fit those heavy-duty hydraulic bollards that rise from beneath the road surface to prevent collision of vehicle and train, as seen in many malls and parking facilities in various cities.  They certainly seem to stop vehicles in their tracks.  Expensive though...

Given earlier comments here and elsewhere proclaiming the inherent risk of leg-dangling and the wriggle-ness of small children, how many kids have actually fallen from the train as a result of sitting on the side of an NBH?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
So you don't call leg dangling at least a potential safe working breach?
nswtrains
To clarify:

Glossary:
...
System of Safeworking

An integrated system of operating procedures and engineered systems used in the Network, for safe operation of rail traffic, and protection of people and property.
Railsafe.org.au
If Puff's certified and audited Safety Management System permits (or permitted at the time of the incident) such behaviour then it is not a safeworking breach.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

So you don't call leg dangling at least a potential safe working breach?
nswtrains
Both adults and kids have been dangling their legs for over 60 years. In that time numerous people have fallen (some would say ‘been pushed’) over balcony safety rails. PBR allows for the dangling in its clearances (loading gauge?), eg the platform white line. There probably have been some accidents but the risk of slipping or falling has, over time, proved to be miniscule.

Some 1950s photos (from Frank Stamford’s website):
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~telica/Puffing_Billy_in_the_1950s.html

Had the crossing been perpendicular and the bus struck the train square on, not a glancing blow, it  wouldn’t have made any difference if people were standing at the ‘windows’ or sitting in them. (Another consideration in the brake fail theory is that the bus more than likely had a manual handbrake, although with the introduction of electronic handbrakes, perhaps not.) In this particular accident, it’s perhaps fortunate the crossing didn’t have boom gates as the prospect of a broken gate, or bits of it, flailing around in an open carriage adds another dimension. Another point about the accident is that it is not PBR’s insurer that’s paying.

Leg-dangling is not compulsory.
  Jack Le Lievre Chief Train Controller

Location: Moolap Station, Vic
Another alternative would be to fit those heavy-duty hydraulic bollards that rise from beneath the road surface to prevent collision of vehicle and train, as seen in many malls and parking facilities in various cities.  They certainly seem to stop vehicles in their tracks.  Expensive though...
steamfreak

It is only expensive if Puff or the Government have to pay for it, in this case, I think that the idiot's insurance company should be forced to pay for the installation along the line. I know that it isn't going to happen, but I guy can dream ;o)

Oh, and for those who haven't seen said barriers they look a little like this;



https://youtu.be/9wPliTkBR48

Jack
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

I was discussing this accident with a recently retired signals engineer. He mentioned a crossing which had flashing lights only, and where there were three or four "incidents" in a single year. All were blamed (by the motor vehicle drivers) on "brake failure". Booms were installed, and hey-presto, no more brake failures.

Having a barrier across a road does tend to focus the mind a bit more than flashing lights.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

The petition to rescind the ban is now up to 9000+ signatures....
  CAP_gauge Junior Train Controller

The practice of riding on the sills of the NBH cars actually goes back over 90 years. There are photographs taken in the 1920s showing legs outside the train. When the NBH cars were introduced in 1919 they only had one safety rail along the sides - the VR did not expect people to sit on the sills. But when they found this was happening, rather than try to put an outright ban on the practice, they added a second safety rail to prevent people falling out. This was done in the early 1920s.
Frank
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
A petition to get rid of all politicians would get over a million signatures, but that doesn't mean it would happen!
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
here it is
sign if you wish

https://www.change.org/p/victorian-government-allow-legs-out-for-puffing-billy
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
If a similar crash occurs again, no doubt the people signing the petition will be the first to stump up their cash when PBR is sued over injuries to passengers, with lawyers screaming about "duty of care."
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

The vageries of the legal profession notwithstanding, it'll be the hitter, not the hittee, paying.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
There is a very simple way to enforce this ban of People allowing themselves or their children being outside of the Carriage and that is for their Insurers to charge rates for Insurance accordingly and I'll bet the PBR will respond by making People stay inside the Carriage.

There is nothing like a hit in the Hip Pocket to get People to toe the line..............
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
In the letter to the Editors section of The age today their was an Letter about the ban.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
The vageries of the legal profession notwithstanding, it'll be the hitter, not the hittee, paying.
kitchgp
You have considerably more faith in the legal system than I do. As I remarked earlier, the cries of, "duty of care" will be deafening if someone gets injured whilst hanging out of the carriage.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

You’d be hard pressed to prove that a standing-at-the-‘window’ person with severe abdominal injuries and bits of wooden carriage wall impaled in them was better off than a dangler with leg injuries.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
[color=#0a1633][size=4][font=PT Serif", Georgia, Times, "Times New Roman", serif][quote=The Age ]Not one of the more than 11 million people who have ridden on Melbourne’s much-loved, award-winning Puffing Billy historic scenic railway – countless of them, particularly thrilled children, dangling their legs out of the windows – has been injured on the journey. Yet the government-subsidised, not-for-profit, volunteer-run organisation operating the glorious old steam train that chugs through some of the green hinterland to the city’s east has banned the traditional ankle-dangle on a trip that has been almost a rite of passage for generations of children and their parents. The ban on dangling legs out of carriages is needless and will be largely unenforceable. The ban on dangling legs out of carriages is needless and will be largely unenforceable. The Emerald Tourist Railway Board has declared the ban pending an investigation into an accident in which a minibus clipped the side of the train, derailing one of the carriages. One of the tour bus’ 16 passengers was injured. Nobody on the train sustained any harm. There is understandable community disappointment, even outrage, and a petition to overturn the decision has garnered thousands of signatures in a matter of days. The board’s ban is an overreaction, and carries the same sour whiff of paternalism that accompanied a recent decision by Port Phillip Council to prohibit alcohol on St Kilda’s popular beaches and foreshore, following violence, affray, robbery and vandalism perpetrated by inebriated hordes that held a massive spontaneous party on Christmas Day. There are sufficient existing laws against anti-social behaviour in the case of St Kilda. And there are evidently sufficient safety measures in place to keep passengers safe on Puffing Billy. The board’s heavy-handed reaction is also reminiscent of a number of councils’ silly regulations requiring people to seek a permit for a picnic in a public park if more than a handful of people are partaking in such a perilous pastime. There is speculation the board might be worried that its insurers will raise the premium for Puffing Billy’s civil liability cover. Given the faultless safety record of the train since it opened as a tourist attraction in 1962, having operated commercially from 1900, such a fear is clearly misplaced. Prohibition should be a last resort, and is one of the most ineffective policies – the failed, hugely costly 50-year ‘‘war on drugs’’ being exhibit A. Like the beach booze ban and the picnic permits, the Puffing Billy ankle assault is needless and will be largely unenforceable. The dedicated and experienced people running Puffing Billy suggest the dangle ban might become permanent. That would be ridiculous; the greatest danger a family could face when contemplating a day out on Puffing Billy is driving a car to the site. To be sure, societies must find a balance between individual liberty and public safety, but authorities tend to be zealous in seeking to limit freedoms. The principle that something that is not forbidden is permitted is eminently superior to the timid notion that if it is not permitted it is forbidden. Proceed, with care and responsibility, until apprehended[/quote][/font][/size][/color]


https://www.theage.com.au/national/puffing-billy-dangle-ban-an-overreaction-20180316-p4z4r6.html
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
You’d be hard pressed to prove that a standing-at-the-‘window’ person with severe abdominal injuries and bits of wooden carriage wall impaled in them was better off than a dangler with leg injuries.
"kitchgp"
Of course you would, because you can't, and the whole idea of such a comparison is ridiculous. Think it through.
With legs outside, they are the first point of contact in a crash.
Even in a comparatively gentle impact, the legs will be hit - no question. People wholly inside the carriage will obviously stand a better chance of escaping injury.
Once you start talking about impaling bodies it has become a  heavy impact, and a legs-only injury becomes extremely unlikely as the carriage disintegrates. There'll be no ledge left underneath the leg-danglers and Heaven knows where they'll end up, and with what degree of injuries.
Play the percentages - inside is obviously safer than outside.
From a purely personal viewpoint after my many years at PBR, I loved looking back from the engine and having kids hanging out and waving to me. But, safety must be first priority, and PBR cannot afford to ignore it.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

The bus intruded into the carriage. Had it hit the preceding NBD carriage it would have showered glass over all those inside, at a minimum, not to mention the splintered wood.

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