Friday, October 7, 2016

The “accidents of person”, the annoyance of the drivers SNCF – Obs

It was 10: 08 when the train left Paris gare de Lyon train station. Twenty minutes later, at the height of Villeneuve Saint-Georges (Val de Marne), the Transilien, which was proceeding in the direction of Melun (Seine-et-Marne), was rammed by a mannequin sitting on the track. The exercise “suicide”, organized this week by the SNCF, has mobilized more than 300 people : agents of the railway company, firefighters, judges, police, gendarmes, police, personal Protection, civil, funeral home and… users of the railway.

An operation-sized conduct to train and raise the awareness of actors confronted each year to the SNCF, called modestly, the “accidents of person”. There have been 211 for the year 2015 alone, of which 92 in the Ile-de-France. During the first half of the current year, 40 have already been identified. They often occur on Friday evening or Monday morning, says the first vice-prosecutor of the public prosecutor of Créteil (Val-de-Marne, france), Sébastien Piffeteau.

The approach of major holidays, of the start of September and the year-end holiday season is also conducive to the passage of the act of the desperate.

The “obsession of the mechanic”

“One driver out of two is to be found one day or another to face this type of problem,” observes Antoine, team leader of the traction of 32 years, a vest fluorescent orange for personal protection on the back labeled four black letters SNCF. Hired ten years ago, he made his debut in Toulouse (Haute Garonne) as a driver and still recalls with acuity of the disaster baptism of fire that was hers. It was in 2010, at Marmande, in the middle of the night. Fifty kilometres after the start, while the train was travelling at a good pace, he suddenly saw a woman huddled up on the way. Despite the honking and brakes, he was unable to avoid it. She had left farewell letters to.

In such circumstances, the “fear of the mechanic”, says Antoine, was that the passengers fall on the way, despite the instructions. The doors are automatically locked. The driver is then taken care of by a cell of psychological support. Since 1993, a succession of the crew is ensured to allow to resume after the emergency response and investigative services.

The time off the road was in a time of 2h27 in 2013. There is more than 1: 59, but the goal is to bring it back to 1.30. Because the passengers, locked in the car stranded on the track, often become impatient and alarmed. In particular, when such an accident occurs then they go to their place of work, or that they return to their home after a day of hard work. They are, however, supported by the volunteers of the civil Protection and the case of the UAS. Pascal Paquerot, 56 years old, regional manager, security, note, however, that some of them protest that the train leaves soon. On the theme : “After all, he is dead, he only has to continue.”


hundreds and some times thousands of users are each time selected, and on the way, until the end of relief operations, or pending transhipment into another train, which can take a long time.

Chafik, 40 years, agent for 16 years at the SNCF, has been faced on two occasions to “accidents to person”. The last time, three weeks ago in Maisons-Alfort (Val-de-Marne). A man in his thirties jumped from the wharf 2-B on the way to the approach of the train which was headed towards Paris. He died on the spot.

“The area of Maisons-Alfort is particularly accident-prone, is Chafik. It happens fast trains. Somewhere, it is the guarantee of a suicide succeeded.” In addition, the station is on a bend and the drivers leave each time a surprise. In the small world of the workers, called these unlucky “poissards” or “black cats”.

“accidents of person” are also sometimes the recklessness of travelers who cross the road without worrying about bans, fun to run on the docks, slip and fall, or allow themselves to be caught up at the approach of a train that they have not heard or seen it coming because of their headset or on their smartphone. There was also the case of people alcoholic.

Yohann, 23 years old, training driver, his vocation, tells that recently in Boussy-Saint-Antoine (Essonne), a train was stopped by a man while naked on the road holding in one hand a knife and in the other an orange. An alert radio and the emergency services have been dispatched.

Another incident at Villeneuve Saint-Georges there are fifteen days. A pope who is overweight was in the train. In the context of the current attacks and the threat of terrorism, travellers have sounded the alarm thinking that he was wearing an explosive belt. The traffic was stopped. Police officers and paramedics intervened. All the trains that used this line have been delayed, and the 100,000 users that they were carrying.

Denis Demonpion


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