Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Also in France, the investigation into last summer's train accident at Brétigny-sur-Ogre presented its conclusions in January, finding a cause less obvious and more worrying that what was surmised at first.

To recap, seven passengers of an express train died when a loose fishplate of a complex switch – held by just one of its four screws, with the other three broken – pivoted and got stuck in the way of the wheels. The root cause was a crack in the frog (the centrepiece of a switch), which put shear stress on the screws but wasn't detected by visual inspection because it was hidden by the very fishplate that caused the derailment. (Claims in Le Figaro about earlier detection of the crack have been based on a misinterpretation of an unrelated cable rupture.) As a consequence, visual inspection procedures will be re-worked, automated inspection trains will be introduced, and point renewal will be accelerated with a €300 million programme.

This got me thinking: visual or portable instrumental inspection of points is still pretty much the norm across Europe, the few inspection cars I'm aware of are not a decade old. So the example of the accident in France should be read as a warning elsewhere, too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 1st, 2014 at 06:34:40 AM EST

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