Bundy home to world-first crash study carriage

HEAVY LIFT: Two cranes lift a carriage in place at the Central QLD University campus, Bundaberg.
HEAVY LIFT: Two cranes lift a carriage in place at the Central QLD University campus, Bundaberg. Paul Donaldson BUN140917LOCO2

THERE'S another feather in Bundaberg's cap as a world first rail crash investigation unit lands at CQUniversity.

A Queensland Rail locomotive and three carriages were craned into the campus today after years of planning.

CQU head of program Associate Professor Geoff Dell is the brains behind the project and told the NewsMail he'd been trying to get it set up for about 25 years.

Assoc Prof Dell described the achievement as "globally significant” and said it would see students from around the planet coming to Bundaberg.

"It's part of the accident forensic laboratory and the only one in the world,” he said.

"It's installed to the same standards as Queensland train lines.”

The rolling stock includes a baggage car, a second class sleeper, a composite sleeper and the locomotive, which all came from the Queensland Museum.

The set-up is spread along two 120m sections of rail track, decommissioned from the Bundaberg rail yard more than a year ago.

Without the donations, the university would have had to pay upwards of $1.7 million for the set-up.

It will be ready for students to investigate on Monday.

Assoc Prof Dell said the crashes would be simulated, but there would be no urgency to remove each scenario and the forensic students would be able to take their time to absorb the information.

"This way there is no pressure to reopen lines, like there is when real rail crashes occur,” he said.

"There could be four accidents set up and a maximum of 20 students working on them.”

Assoc Prof Dell said the location was chosen just as he was about to give up on the thought of rail crash simulation and the timing of it all was fortuitous.

"CQU vice-chancellor Scot Bowman had a vision in 2008-09 to expand the footprint of this campus, we met and now it's happening,” he said.

The rail space will be marketed to countries like Indonesia and Hong Kong, drawing students in from around the globe in the coming months.

Topics:  bundaberg cqu forensic crash unit geoff dell rail crash simulator scott bowman

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