HUNDREDS of tiny millipedes could be behind the collision of two trains on the Joondalup line that left six people injured this morning.
The two trains collided at the Clarkson train station about 6.40am. The collision occurred between a moving train and a stationary train which was taking on passengers going to Perth.
PTA spokesman David Hynes said the transport body was talking the matter very seriously and a full investigation into the incident was already underway.
“It was low speed (the collision),” Mr Hynes said.
“The stationary train was loading passengers at Clarkson and the other train was coming up behind it, as it would do being the next cab off the rank and it just hasn’t been able to pull up in time.
“We don’t know why.
“We are obviously looking quite seriously into that. We are very keen to find out what the circumstances were.”
Mr Hynes said an ambulance was called to the scene to treat several people for stiff and sore necks.
“We have since had a couple of (injured) people put their hand up who continued on into Perth…I think we’ve got up to about five or six people who have reported they’ve got a stiff neck,” he said.
Millipedes are being investigated as one possible cause, after the tiny arthropods were spotted in their hundreds on the tracks.
Drivers had previously been warned about the bizarre occurrence, with an infestation of Portuguese millipedes thought to have caused train tracks to become slippery when crushed by the wheels of a passing train last year.
The problem was reported in Rockingham and Kwinana, and on the freight network, with the PTA spraying insecticide in and around the tracks last September.
In 2009, a plague of the millipedes – latin name Ommatoiulus moreletii – overran railway tracks at Tallarook in central Victoria, causing several trains to be cancelled.
Services on both the Joondalup and Mandurah lines were delayed for about 15 minutes as a result of the incident. Services are now back to normal.