Granville train disaster remembered

FRIDAY is the Day of the Roses, when we remember the 83 passengers who died and the 213 who were injured in Australia’s worst rail tragedy — the Granville train disaster.

A service will be held in Granville Town Hall, Carlton Street, Granville, from 11am.

Parramatta lord mayor John Chedid said it is dedicated to those who died on January 18, 1977 — as well as those who lost members of their families — when an early morning city-bound Blue Mountains commuter train derailed on an approach curve to Granville station.

The train careered along for 46metres before striking the supports of the Bold Street Bridge over the rail line and the bridge fell onto carriages three and four, trapping passengers inside.

‘‘The concrete slabs and tonnes of bricks in the accident site made the recovery process very difficult and required a high degree of co-ordination by NSW Police, civil and emergency services,’’ a RailCorp spokeswoman said.

She said significant improvements had been made to the rail system since the accident, including better and more rigorous maintenance and monitoring of track and infrastructure.

RailCorp is also now equipped to be proactive in the detection of technical faults and structural concerns, and is continually making improvements to design and planning processes, she said.

She said the following were examples of work undertaken to improve safety for all passengers:

■ Ninety percent of timber sleepers have been replaced with concrete, which have a 50-plus years life cycle;

■ Significant investment by RailCorp each year in bridge renewals;

■ Regular reviews of all rail infrastructure, with particular attention paid to structures over rail as part of necessary maintenance and renewals.

‘‘RailCorp is committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of employees who have been involved in a critical incident,’’ the spokeswoman said.

‘‘Employees involved in a critical incident are offered immediate counselling from specialised trauma psychologists, with follow-up sessions at regular intervals, based on individual need.’’

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