Light rail 'crash' part of safety testing
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Light rail 'crash' part of safety testing

If you saw fire trucks rushing to the scene of a crash involving a light rail carriage on Thursday - rest assured, disaster did not strike.

Canberra Metro and the Emergency Services Agency ran a drill testing the responses of paramedic and fire crews to a fake crash involving a light rail vehicle and a car.

Canberra Metro and the ACT Emergency Services Agency staged a car versus light rail vehicle crash to test the responses of firefighters and paramedics. 

Canberra Metro and the ACT Emergency Services Agency staged a car versus light rail vehicle crash to test the responses of firefighters and paramedics. Credit:ACT government

The tests - which ran for 2.5 hours - included a series of staged accidents at the intersection of Flemington Road and Mapleton Avenue in Harrison.

Police, fire and ambulance crews attended the scene as they would a normal accident.

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It's part of series of simulated accidents involved in safety testing and emergency planning ahead of the light rail's launch in 2019, although Thursday's was the only test that will take place this year.

However emergency services have been preparing for some time for light rail.

More tests will be held next year.

More tests will be held next year. Credit:ACT government

Emergency Services Minister Mick Gentleman told the ACT Legislative Assembly in August extra equipment was being purchased to prepare for light rail crashes.

"I can advise the Assembly that our emergency services Fire and Rescue officers are fully prepared for all circumstances across the ACT," Mr Gentleman said.

"They are going through a great deal of training during these preparations. In fact we even send them overseas for particular training for these sorts of situations.

"I have personally been involved, at the Hume training base, in training for extractions of personnel and vehicles out of large multistorey car parks, for example. It is a really good example of how they can work with modern machinery to support the safety of all Canberrans."

Transport Canberra deputy director-general Duncan Edghill told annual report hearings in November he had just signed off on funding for equipment required for derailments or major collisions.

"I fairly recently signed off for JACS - I am not the technical person, so I do not know exactly what the equipment is - a piece of equipment they asked us for to deal with that particular issue. We have said, 'Yes, we’ll help you fund that.' I do not know when it gets delivered," Mr Edghill said.

Mr Gentleman said ACT Fire and Rescue could source equipment quickly from NSW if required.

"We have large storage containers of equipment for this sort of use, both in the ACT and in New South Wales as well. And of course we have operational procedures in plan ready to take action on such occasions," Mr Gentleman said in August.

Dan is a reporter for The Canberra Times.

Katie Burgess is a reporter for the Canberra Times, covering ACT politics.

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