A train driver and guard were allegedly ordered to drive over a dead body on the tracks, prompting the rail union to seek an urgent review of protocols.
A train driver and guard were allegedly ordered to drive over a dead body on the tracks, prompting the rail union to seek an urgent review of protocols.

Train driver and guard told to ‘drive over’ dead body

A Sydney train diver and guard were allegedly ordered to "drive over" the dead body of a self-harm victim before completing the journey to Gosford.

The shocking allegation from a rail union source last week sent members into meltdown with the NSW Rail Tram and Bus Union demanding a review of protocols.

It is believed a body was discovered under the train after a self harm incident and while the train driver and guard were replaced, the union claims protocols were then breached by allowing the train service to continue.

It is understood the traumatised guard, who was told not to look out the window, is seeking counselling.

A union source said trains involved in a self-harm incident were ordinarily emptied of passengers before being sent to the nearest maintenance yard.

The train driver and guard were allegedly told to keep driving the train in “revenue service” to Gosford Station.
The train driver and guard were allegedly told to keep driving the train in “revenue service” to Gosford Station.

Instead, the passengers remained on the train as police undertook an inspection.

After the police finished their job, a replacement crew was ordered to drive the train forward to allow the body to be removed, before continuing the journey, the source said.

"With the deceased victim still under the train, this meant the driver was told to actually drive over the body," the source alleged.

"The driver questioned whether the train was to be terminated, passengers detrained and the train sent to Flemington.

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"(He was told) no, continue in revenue service to Gosford. The actions of the businesses in this incident are viewed with absolute disgust and the decision to continue running the train as a passenger service shows a blatant disregard of everything except running trains, including decency, humanity and respect for the deceased and any possible emotional impacts on the passengers on the train at the time."

The source said a similar incident occurred a decade ago following a self-harm incident on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

In that incident, a train driver refused to proceed with the service.

NSW RTBU secretary Alex Claassens said it was clear procedures needed to be changed.

"The incident has shocked everyone involved," he said.

"In all my years in the railways, I've never heard of a situation quite like this one. If this is what following the procedure after a fatality looks like, then the procedure needs to be changed.

 

NSW RTBU secretary Alex Claassens said the incident showed “procedures needed to be changed”.
NSW RTBU secretary Alex Claassens said the incident showed “procedures needed to be changed”.

"The way this situation was handled showed no respect or empathy for workers, passengers or the family of the deceased. The union simply won't accept that the handling of this incident was OK. It wasn't and we're seeking assurances that it will never happen again."

The service was a NSW TrainLink-operated Central Coast & Newcastle line train.

Sydney Trains operates and maintains the rail corridor between Central and Berowra.

While The Sunday Telegraph is aware of the location and time of the incident, these details have been withheld our of respect for the family.

In a joint statement, Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink said both organisations were committed to the safety and wellbeing of its staff.

 

The service was a NSW TrainLink-operated Central Coast & Newcastle line train.
The service was a NSW TrainLink-operated Central Coast & Newcastle line train.

It said sites where self-harm incidents had occurred fell under the control of NSW Police.

Following an incident, the organisations worked with police and other emergency services to re-open the rail network.

"Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink are committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our staff," the statement said.

"Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink provide an Employee Assistance Program to all our employees.

Additional support is provided to any staff member involved in a Critical Incident on our network. For drivers and guards, this support includes immediate crew relief, access to qualified medical and psychological professionals, Critical Incident Leave and a structured return to work program."

It is understood the RTBU will make a formal complaint to rail management

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