Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Derailment of the high speed train: first indictments for homicide and unintentional injuries – The Figaro

Three employees of the SNCF and its subsidiary, Systra, have been indicted for homicide and unintentional injuries. On November 14, 2015 the derailment of a train test TGV had caused the death of 11 people.

The investigation is accelerated. On November 14, 2015, a cut test of TGV derailed at Eckersheim (Bas-Rhine), causing the death of 11 people, injuring 42 others. Nearly a year after the tragedy, two employees of the SNCF – a driver and a “cadre transport traction” – and a “driver pull” employee of Systra, the subsidiary in charge of the trials, have been indicted for homicide and unintentional injuries, on Wednesday. They have also been placed under judicial control.

They had been heard in police custody on 10 October by the gendarmes of the research section of Strasbourg. It is the input of the investigations under the authority of investigating judges at the pole “Accidents collective” of the tribunal de grande instance of Paris. “We do not comment because SNCF Mobilities, the SNCF Network and Systra are not part of the record, and do not have access to the elements of the investigation”, said the SNCF to the AFP.

On November 14, 2015 at 15h04, the TGV carried out its last test on the stretch of the high-speed line (LGV) between Paris and Strasbourg. He had derailed at the entrance of the curve connecting the new line with the classic line on the town of Eckwersheim, Bas-Rhin), 20 km from Strasbourg, before colliding with a bridge. This spectacular accident was the first derailment deadly in the history of the TGV since its commissioning in 1981. The drama had also done the 42 wounded, including children.

for nearly a year, investigators will wonder about possible flaws in the implementation of this test carried out within the framework of the project of high-speed line LGV Is european. Gerard Chemla, lawyer of a dozen families of the victims, said he is “pleased that the criminal investigation is moving forward,” and “confident that others will follow, including of legal persons”.

In mid-February, a note of step of the Bureau of accident investigations in land transportation (BEA-TT) had estimated that “the speed is very excessive, the train test was the sole cause of the derailment” the TGV. Since then, a progress report of the judicial expertise came to “comfort the hypothesis of an overspeed and failures in the braking process”, pointed out Wednesday, a source close to the folder.

The train had toppled over in the channel of the Marne to the Rhine after having addressed a curve at 265 km/h while the speed planned for this test was 176 km/h, according to the report of the BEA. The operation of the data recorder embedded in the rame had been allowed to “assert that the excess speed recorded was only due to a triggering of the braking too late by about 12 seconds,” according to the report, the BEA-TT.

In the days following the disaster, a report from the SNCF had also highlighted a “speed too high” resulting from a “sequence of late braking that should have been exercised significantly more in the upstream”. This accident raises many questions: why 53 people, including children, were they in a ream of test, and of these, seven in the cockpit instead of the four authorized according to the SNCF? How the decision to restrain has she been taken?

This drama involves both employees of the railway sector, for which the derailment is an accident at work, and guests – not employees – so that they were not supposed to be there. For the latter, drama falls under a transport accident without the insurance conferred by the possession of a ticket.

In the investigation on the disaster in Brétigny, france (seven people dead and dozens injured in July 2013 in the Essonne), two persons had been indicted; The SNCF and réseau ferré de France (RFF), had been blamed for homicides and unintentional injuries. The drama of Eckwersheim was delayed for three months the commissioning of the second phase of the LGV Is. Since 3 July, Strasbourg is less than 1H50 from Paris against 2H20 previously.


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