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Since 1988 more than 30,000 of the state’s 45,000 rail jobs have been axed and maintenance and service facilities corporatised and cutback.Carr moves into political damage control NSW Labor Premier Bob Carr, whose government faces election on March 22, quickly moved into political damage control over the crash.
But according to ABC-TV’s , there have been more than 30 rail defects near Waterfall in recent months.
Some passengers have said the train was travelling at high speed.
This includes a major derailment at Hexham on July 12 last year when nine people were injured after a passenger train travelling from Newcastle to Maitland, a few hundred kilometres north of Sydney, collided with a derailed coal train. A third train heading towards the derailment site was alerted at the last minute, narrowly averting a three-way collision.
The Carr government’s breakup of the State Rail Authority into three separate stand-alone commercial entities in 1996 has been a key factor in ongoing number of rail accidents in NSW.
The rail disaster is the worst in New South Wales for 26 years, since the January 1977 Granville train crash which killed 83 people and injured 220, and follows a number of serious rail accidents in the state over the last decade.
According to some passengers, the train, which was travelling through Royal National Park bushland, increased speed just before it left the rails three kilometres south of Waterfall and crossed the northbound line sideswiping the sandstone cutting.
“[I]t’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility that it [the train] could have been going up to 100 km/h,” Gleeson said.
Two days later, a editorial declared, without a shred of evidence, that “on-board human failure [was] the likely cause” of the derailment.
Two local police officers were the first on the scene after being notified that an automatic alarm from the driver’s cabin had been registered in Sydney’s Central Station.
Firefighters and other emergency service workers followed soon after, but dense bushland hampered rescue efforts and equipment had to be carried by hand 1.5 kilometres to the disaster scene.