On the morning of Friday 21 July, the RTBU was made aware by members of the partial structure collapse of the Frankston Signal Box.
RTBU organisers and HSRs attended the signal box on the day to sight the damage for themselves and were shocked to find out Metro had failed to notify WorkSafe as they didn’t believe the partial collapse was significant enough to warrant reporting.
The front wall of the box had dropped onto the rodding for 61 and 62 Points requiring fitters to attend the signal box and book the levers that operate those points out of service. Members were concerned they had been told to continue working the lever frame (VR A Pattern Cam and Tappet) prior to the structure being deemed safe by an independent structural engineer.
An attempt was made to raise the front wall off the point rodding which caused the support pylons to splinter. Stabilisation measures have now been completed with and the signal box signed off as safe for use. The question is though, for how long?
Frankston Signal Box celebrated its 100th anniversary in August last year and unfortunately is looking every day of its age. Under the previous Signalling Department Manager, the signal box was allocated $2,000,000 for the roof to be repaired. This work is yet to be done.
WorkSafe were quickly notified and will be keeping a close eye on the repairs once they commence to ensure they are of a suitable standard.
Due to a Heritage Listing, repairing the box will be costly, but for long can Metro continue to put cost ahead of members safety? The RTBU will continue to push for this work to be prioritised!