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Old 07-25-2013, 09:36 AM   #1
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Horrible Train Derailment in Spain



http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2...ent-crash.html

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Police put the driver of a Spanish train under investigation on Thursday after at least 80 people died when it hit a sharp bend at speed, derailed and caught fire near the pilgrimage centre of Santiago de Compostela, in one of Europe's worst rail disasters.

The crash was caused by excessive speed, an official source with knowledge of the accident investigation told Reuters. However, the public works minister has said it's too early to say exactly what happened.

Dramatic video footage from a security camera outside the northwestern city showed the train hurtling into a concrete wall at the side of the track as carriages jack-knifed and the engine overturned.


Officials say the speed limit on that section of track is 80 km/h.


The impact was so huge one carriage flew several metres into the air and landed on the other side of the high concrete barrier.

"We heard a massive noise and we went down the tracks. I helped get a few injured and bodies out of the train. I went into one of the cars but I'd rather not tell you what I saw there," Ricardo Martinez, a 47-year old baker from Santiago de Compostela, told Reuters.

The train driver was under formal police investigation, a spokeswoman for Galicia's Supreme Court told Reuters, without naming him. The train had two drivers and one was in hospital, the Galicia government said.

It was not immediately clear which driver was under investigation or in hospital. The train, operated by state-owned company Renfe, was built by Canadian company Bombardier and Spain-based Talgo and was around five years old. It had almost the maximum number of passengers
El Pais newspaper said one of the drivers told the railway station by radio after being trapped in his cabin that the train entered the bend at 190 km/h. An official source said the speed limit on that stretch of twin track, laid in 2011, was 80 km/h.

"We're only human! We're only human!" the driver told the station, the newspaper said, citing sources close to the investigation. "I hope there are no dead, because this will fall on my conscience."

Investigators were trying to urgently establish why the train was going so fast and why failsafe security devices to keep speed within permitted limits had not worked.

Spain's rail safety record is better than the European average, ranking 18th out of 27 countries in terms of railway deaths per kilometres travelled, the European Railway Agency said. There were 218 train accidents in Spain between 2008-2011, well below the European Union average of 426 for the same period, the agency said.

Cranes were still pulling out mangled debris on Thursday morning, 12 hours after the crash. Emergency workers had stopped their search for survivors, the court spokeswoman said.

Firefighters called off a strike to help with the disaster, while hospital staff, many operating on reduced salaries because of spending cuts in recession-hit Spain, worked overtime to tend the injured.

The disaster happened at 8.41 p.m. local time on the eve of a major festival dedicated to St James, one of Jesus' 12 disciples, whose remains are said to rest in the city's centuries-old cathedral.

The apostle's shrine is the destination of the famous El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across the Pyrenees, which has been followed by Christians since the Middle Ages.

The city's tourism board said all festivities, including the traditional High Mass at the cathedral, had been cancelled as the city went into mourning following the crash.

In total, 178 people were taken to hospital after the crash, a regional government spokeswoman said. Of those, 95 were still being treated, of which 36 including four children, were in serious condition, she said.

U.S. citizens were amongst the injured, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement and at least one British citizen was wounded, the British embassy spokesman said. Several other nationalities were believed to be among the passengers.

One of the train drivers had been sedated, said Juan Jesus Garcia, the secretary general of the Renfe train drivers union, adding he hoped to visit him on Thursday.

Neighbours ran to the site to help emergency workers tend to the wounded. Ana Taboada, a 29-year-old hospital worker, was one of the first on the scene.

"When the dust lifted I saw corpses. I didn't make it down to the track, because I was helping the passengers that were coming up the embankment," she told Reuters. "I saw a man trying to break a window with a stone to help those inside get out."

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who was born in Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia region, visited the site and the main hospital on Thursday. He declared three days of official national mourning for the victims of the disaster.

Passenger Ricardo Montesco told Cadena Ser radio station the train approached the curve at high speed, twisted and wagons piled up one on top of the other.

"A lot of people were squashed on the bottom. We tried to squeeze out of the bottom of the wagons to get out and we realised the train was burning. ... I was in the second wagon and there was fire. ... I saw corpses," he said.

Both Renfe and state-owned Adif, which is in charge of the tracks, had opened an investigation into the cause of the derailment, Renfe said.

The official source said no statement would be made regarding the cause until the black boxes of the train were examined.

The disaster stirred memories of a train bombing in Madrid in 2004, carried out by Islamist militants, that killed 191 people, although officials do not suspect an attack this time.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:44 AM   #2
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That footage is sickening....

RIP.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:47 AM   #3
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Ride the train they said. It's safer then driving they said....
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:18 AM   #4
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when I was in asia some of the non-stop bullet trains would fly by you at 250kph+ at the station...you'd think they might slow it down in that section considering objects might fall easily into a track possibly causing a derailment? I can't imagine the casualties that'll inflict if that happens at a station at peak hours

RIP to these passengers
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:36 AM   #5
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RIP and condolences to the families affected by the loss. You'd think you only see these high-speed derailments in Train Simulator joke videos.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:41 AM   #6
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wow...that is horrible!
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:45 AM   #7
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Charging into the bend at 190 kph when the speed limit is 80 kph... Even if you factor in a 2x safety margin, that is still 30 kph, that is still almost 40% too fast...

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Old 07-25-2013, 11:52 AM   #8
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Shit. It's one thing to see the aftermath of the wreckage, it's another to see it on CCTV as it happens.

RIP to the dead. Hope they find out what happened sooner than later.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:56 AM   #9
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So safety systems to limit speed didn't work? I didn't think "drivers" were actually in complete control of the trains and were more like "supervisors".

I hate to think of it, but with the economy so bad and cutbacks everywhere I wonder if it was lack of proper maintenance or inspections due to cutbacks.

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Old 07-25-2013, 11:59 AM   #10
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So safety systems to limit speed didn't work? I didn't think "drivers" were actually in complete control of the trains and were more like "supervisors".

I hate to think of it, but with the economy so bad and cutbacks everywhere I wonder if it was lack of proper maintenance or inspections due to cutbacks.

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That's my thought. Perhaps a sensor on the failsafe had failed previously and they didn't have the budget to replace it (or they simply said they did a maintenance check without bothering to do one) and instead of having an otherwise usable train out of service, they figured they could get away with fixing it at the next scheduled maintenance.
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:43 PM   #11
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Sad that the people controlling the train didn't take the responsibility of their passengers more seriously. It doesn't matter if the train is late. Getting there in one piece is a bit more important. Other than malfunction or terrorism, there is no excuse. They will be haunted for the rest of their lives. "We're only human, we're only human" - right!

This is, of course, if the cause was indeed human error.

As for the victims, RIP. Hopefully the injured will recover soon.

Another blow to a nation that is already suffering.


Not sure how credible source is.....

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...book-page.html
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Old 07-25-2013, 05:01 PM   #12
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my god... thats terrible.. was just like any other train ride...

RIP.
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Old 07-25-2013, 05:38 PM   #13
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wow!
thats appalling!.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:55 PM   #14
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I think I read somewhere they ruled out terrorism as the cause. But this is like the 3rd train incident around the world in the past month?? :S
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:04 PM   #15
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I think I read somewhere they ruled out terrorism as the cause. But this is like the 3rd train incident around the world in the past month?? :S
Don't fret, Chuckles will be here soon with the real scoop from some great sources and let us know what sheep we are for believing that going over twice as fast as you're suppose to be into a corner could cause a derailment. It couldn't be a simple accident, that's what "they" want you to think.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:51 PM   #16
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With the technological achievements in the world these days, why would they not be able to limit the trains speed using GPS or some form of positioning system that will not allow the train to go so fast on a part of the track that it should not.....this kind of stuff just should not happen any more
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:26 PM   #17
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With the technological achievements in the world these days, why would they not be able to limit the trains speed using GPS or some form of positioning system that will not allow the train to go so fast on a part of the track that it should not.....this kind of stuff just should not happen any more
You mean automate it ? So that there would not be a need for a train engineer, driver, or conductor ? Let's see if their union agrees with that.
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:27 PM   #18
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With the technological achievements in the world these days, why would they not be able to limit the trains speed using GPS or some form of positioning system that will not allow the train to go so fast on a part of the track that it should not.....this kind of stuff just should not happen any more
They do have such technology and this train was supposed to be equipped with it. That's why they were wondering why the safety systems didn't activate to reduce speed. Did it malfunction? Or did someone disable it?

For example, many freight trains used to use a "dead man's pedal" which you had to keep pressed to keep the train moving. Take your foot off the pedal and the brakes come on. Some engineers would place a weight on the pedal so they didn't have to press it and this was suspected as one of the possible causes in the Hinton Alberta train crash in 1986. Newer versions used a "dead man's switch" which an engineer had to press whenever a random warning sound was heard - if the switch wasn't pressed the train would brake. The idea is it's not easy to defeat by simply putting something on the switch/pedal to hold it.

The systems used in Europe on newer trains (this train was one of them) use an even more advanced system which makes me think it malfunctioned and wasnt tampered with or disabled by "lazy" drivers.
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:52 PM   #19
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You mean automate it ? So that there would not be a need for a train engineer, driver, or conductor ? Let's see if their union agrees with that.
No, I'm not a fan of automation.
I mean a safety feature that will not allow the trains safe speed to be overridden by a conductor.

But in the end, if the automation of a train saves 80 lives then its a smart move on the union.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:15 PM   #20
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Somewhere in one of the articles, it was mentioned that newly developed safety systems were in place, except for that particular stretch of track. WTF? Isn't that curve like an accident ready to happen? It shoulld be the first place to install such a system. Perhaps, the system has to be complete before it can work properly. Like mentioned before, no more money.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:15 PM   #21
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Horrible and tragic accident. Thoughts and feelings go out to the families.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:26 PM   #22
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RIP.

Part of me immediately thought of the movie Invincible with all these crashes this month.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:50 PM   #23
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Fuck... that cctv footage...
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:53 AM   #24
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I hate how quick people are to place blame on others, it seems like people don't want to recognize that it could have been a mechanical failure.

It's a sucky situation all around, but let's wait for the facts, shall we?
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:07 PM   #25
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I watched this on a few Russian news stations. They've discovered the Driver's Facebook/Twitter accounts where he bragged of making the trains go faster and even posted pictures of the speedometer showing 200km/h++. This is why he is currently under arrest and under police investigation. No terrorism or mechanical failure to blame here... just plain stupidity.
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