New information has been revealed to suggest the recent death of two men after a train derailed along the Sydney to Melbourne line was an "avoidable tragedy".
Clive Williams was a friend of John Kennedy, a 54-year-old Canberra train driver who lost his life in the derailment.
Mr Williams shared email correspondence with Mr Kennedy which spoke of issues with the trains and a previous derailing incident.
The email read "...my last six Melbourne return trips have been very late or cancelled mainly due to train fault issues, 3 of the six runs I was down to one engine, on another trip I had no speedo and the only trip without a train fault was disrupted by the big derailment last week".
Mr Williams said his friend, who was based out of Junee's TrainLink Depot, had only been driving that particular line since last year, with the email sent on February 3.
"The thing that annoys me the most with this is that this was an avoidable tragedy, and politicians are ducking for cover to avoid blame," he said.
The two men met in early 2017 at a town hall meeting pushing to get the Canberra to Sydney rail system upgraded.
"At the time, John asked me if I would like to make some runs with him in the XPT cab between Canberra and Sydney to get a better appreciation of the sector," Mr Williams said.
"Over the next two years, I did that on several occasions at different times of day."
Mr Williams reported noticing a lack of seat belts in the driver's cab of the XPT, as well as the need to "hang on" because of frequent rough sections of track.
"The XPT is reasonably reliable in the way that a Mack truck is reliable, but it's an old work horse dating from 1982 and suffers from arthritic creaks and groans and parts that are wearing out," he said.
"XPT train staff are dedicated and hard-working but have to cope with 1980s technology and early 20th-century rail infrastructure."
According to Mr Williams, Mr Kennedy voiced his concerns during their travels together on the tracks.
"John advised me to make my stuff secure and said I would need to hang on because some sections were very hair raising, with quite violent sideways movement," he said.
"He said that the XPT track was under maintained and he had half expected to come off the rails on his first few trips."
Video footage has also been discovered on YouTube, showing snippets of unsteady XPT travel.
"Friendly, confident and passionate" were the words Mr Williams used to describe his late friend.
"He was well regarded in the rail community and, despite being a senior manager, took a redundancy to become a train driver because that was his passion," he said.
"Not many people would take a demotion, but driving trains was his first love.
"It gave him more time at home too; he was a dedicated family man and had so much love for them."
Mr Williams shared stories of his journeys with Mr Kennedy.
"Often when we were on the train, we would pass other trains going in the opposite direction and he'd always chat to other drivers as long as he could remain within range," he said.
"That's what irritated me most, when there were comments going around of John's potentially reckless driving and speeding, that wasn't who he was, he was cautious and always had others' interests at heart."
Mr Williams said he had never heard of anyone saying a bad word about Mr Kennedy.
"He wasn't the type to have enemies," he said.
"It is to be hoped that John's and his colleague's unnecessary deaths prick the conscience of ACT and federal politicians to do something radical about our outmoded train service."