Accidents and Other Problems
The Sprinter fleet had a number of initial teething problems, including failures to trigger boom gates which led to their temporary removal from service shortly after initial introduction. They were also noted to have a high fault incidence mainly due to unreliable componentry and electrical circuitry.
Only two major accidents involving a Sprinter has been recorded – the first occurred on 20 November 1996 at the Spencer Street Rail Motor Depot. At around 1730 Sprinters 7010+7008 shunted out from the platforms at low speed after disembarking passengers from an up service. The cars were to run into the sidings at the Rail Motor Depot, but when the driver got up to adjust the offside rear-vision mirror he was locked out of the cab by the self-closing door. Unable to regain control of the vehicle, the train proceeded to collide with stabled Sprinters 7019+7016.
Despite being the aggressor, 7010’s damage was mostly superficial, consisting of broken windows and bent side panelling. 7019 came off much worse; with a buckled frame, the No. 2 cab bent downwards nearly 30 degrees at the saloon doors. The coupler was never recovered. Both trailing Sprinters received little damage.
After the accident investigation was concluded in April 1997, both Sprinters were hauled to Goninan’s Bendigo Workshops for evaluation. 7010 returned to service in 1998, but it was decided that repairing 7019 would be too costly and so the car was written off. Its interior was gutted before the car was hauled back to Melbourne on 12 July 1998. The car is now stored in the East Block of Newport Workshops.
The Second occurred on Saturday 15 November 2003. Sprinters 7003, 7004 & 7005 were on the 15:49 down service to Ballarat when 7003 being the lead unit struck a vehicle stuck on the tracks between Ballan and Gordon. Over 60 people were injured with 7003 rolling on to its side and finishing in a ditch while 7004 & 7005 derailed. 7003 sustained significant damage to its driver compartment and side, 7005 to its driver compartment after striking 7003 as it jack knifed and 7004 received very minor damage. The Ballarat line was closed for three days for the clean up.
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