The French train crash that killed at least six people on July 12 is believed to have been caused by a technical fault involving the track, according to the railway operator SNCF. Guillaume Pepy, who is Chairman of SNCF, said the piece of metal linking two train lines “broke away” when the accident took place. Technical and judicial investigations will focus on this fault at the railway points. Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier has ruled out the possibility that human error caused the Intercity train to derail. SNCF will review all the other metal links [approximately 5,000] of the same type on its network, according to Pierre Izard, head of the infrastructures division at the company.
The crash marked the country’s worst rail accident since 2002. Twenty-two of those injured were hospitalized. The authorities brought a crane to the accident site to lift the derailed train cars and check for more victims. The department of Essonne, a local government authority, oversees Bretigny-sur-Orge, where the accident took place. Two of the hospitalized victims had severe injuries. An investigation was underway at press time. The train, which had 385 passengers, was en route to Limoges from Paris. It derailed at 5:14 p.m. at Bretigny-sur-Orge, about 28 kilometers (17 miles) outside Paris. The train was traveling at 137 kilometers per hour (85.6 mph) when it derailed.
In October 2006, a passenger train from Luxembourg and a French freight train collided in the Lorraine region of northeastern France, killing five people and injuring 20. In November 2002, a fire on a passenger train traveling from Paris to Munich killed 12 passengers and injured 12. The worst railway accident in France in living memory took place at Paris Gare de Lyon in 1988, when two trains collided, killing 56 people.
The recent crash came six days after a train operated by Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. jumped the tracks at Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The runaway train, which was hauling 72 cars of crude oil, exploded, killing as many as 50 people. In June, a commuter train crash in Buenos Aires killed three people and injured 155. In May, a Metro-North rush-hour train derailed in Connecticut, injuring at least 75 people.
Source: Insurance Journal
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