More than 60 of the state's highly trained emergency services personnel and rail experts were put to the test today (27 October), acting out a simulated bus and train collision at Queensland's first purpose-built rail emergency training facility.
Queensland Rail Senior Manager Security and Emergency Preparedness Drew Brock said the safety of Queensland Rail's customers and employees was paramount, with Exercise Goldfish providing a valuable opportunity for first responders and rail experts to work together to test their processes and ensure they're prepared in the event of a rail emergency.
It's the first major field exercise to be conducted at the newly constructed 'Rail Utility Site' at the Queensland Combined Emergency Services Academy (QCESA) at the Port of Brisbane.
"This is a large-scale field exercise involving approximately 60 participants from Queensland Rail, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES), Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) and Queensland Police Service (QPS) as they work together in response to a simulated incident on the rail network," Mr Brock said.
"Today's multi-agency exercise was played out in real-time, with the mock train and bus collision being treated as a genuine emergency – testing everything from the initial Queensland Rail response to emergency services access, evacuation of the train and responding to injuries.
"We also had 90 role players from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) using moulage to make the session as realistic as possible for those involved.
"Thankfully incidents of this nature are rare, but its vitally important we prepare for all potential scenarios on the rail network.
"These exercises provide the different agencies with a unique opportunity to test multiple aspects of their incident and emergency response to a major incident, within the challenging operating environment of a live rail network.
"Queensland Rail has a longstanding partnership with the Queensland Police Service and works closely with emergency services if incidents arise. Today's exercise ensured our teams are coordinated and communicating well, with increased awareness and understanding of the issues they may encounter in such a high-risk environment."
QFES Commissioner Greg Leach said the exercise would provide crews with a fantastic opportunity to continue to hone their rail response skills and work closely with their emergency services partners.
"This is the first exercise utilising the new rail environment at QCESA and our personnel are very excited to be involved," Mr Leach said.
"The benefits of practicing with realistic training simulations is widely acknowledged across the emergency services as an ideal way to develop and maintain important life-saving response skills.
"Having this rail prop at QCESA allows us to work alongside Queensland Rail and our emergency services partners to plan and test critical emergency response plans, share important knowledge and continue to ensure we are prepared and ready to respond to a range of emergencies or incidents.
"I thank Queensland Rail for its support throughout this project as well as the donation of the train and rail infrastructure to QCESA."
Mr Brock said the new Rail Utility Site consisted of a retired three-carriage Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) train that had been gifted to QFES for the purposes of training.
"Queensland Rail recently finished construction of the rail environment, which included installing the decommissioned train on 85 meters of railway track complete with sleepers and ballast," Mr Brock said.
"This site delivers an environment for all emergency services and Queensland Rail to exercise and test operating procedures in a safe and controlled atmosphere in a non-operational environment, which means no disruptions to train customers."