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Train driver not to blame for acid spill

AAP logoAAP 12/12/2016 Darren Cartwright

A train driver has been cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation into a derailment where more than 30,000 litres of sulphuric acid leaked from the wreckage in central Queensland last December.

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau report determined the accident, near Julia Creek, was caused by torrential rain which washed away the track's ballast and compromised its integrity.

The report said the driver and crew could do nothing to prevent the derailment and turned the blame onto Queensland Rail and freight operator Aurizon.

It said they had inadequate reporting procedures to identify and respond to potentially dangerous situations caused by wet weather.

"The track could not support the weight of train ... as it passed over the affected area," the report stated.

During the derailment, the crew's radio handsets fell into water making them unusable.

It left the crew no option but to wait for a motorist to stop on the Flinders Highway so they could use the motorists mobile phone to advise Aurizon of the derailment.

Since the incident on December 27, QR has issued safety alerts to improve the effectiveness of managing hazards associated with weather events.

Aurizon has introduced respiratory protection masks for train crew on trains transporting acid and continues to reassess the emergency evacuation procedures, locomotive windscreens and secondary communication opportunities and options, the report said.

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