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Dozens Die as Spanish Train Derails

train derailment spain

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#16 ichi


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Posted 31 July 2013 - 10:46

ASFA was in use, but I don't know how ASFA works at that place and if the tracks where the train came from had both ERTMS and ASFA at the same time.


According to the president of the administration of railway infrastructures (Adif) ASFA would only have automatically stopped the train if it was speeding over 200km/h, which it wasn't.


Thing is anyway that trains that travel below 200km/h aren't required to implement automatic braking systems (eg. AVE, which travels at 350km/h, does implement that system). Nothing can go wrong at 199km/h anyway, right?


Hopefully things will change after this accident, but I still wouldn't really bet on that. Most likely the driver will take all the blame and that'll be it.

#17 DocM


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Posted 31 July 2013 - 11:15

News here just reported he was talking on the phone to railway staff & shuffling through papers as it crashed. Maybe someone should check who initiated the damned call.

#18 FloatingFatMan


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Posted 31 July 2013 - 11:45

At the end of the day, you can implement all the safety features you want, but it's the guy driving the train who bears ultimate responsibility for anything that happens to it. HE was the one in the driver's seat.  He knew how fast he was going and what the speed limit was. He ignored that and 79 people died.


He deserves to have the book thrown at him.

#19 Radium



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Posted 31 July 2013 - 11:56

News here just reported he was talking on the phone to railway staff & shuffling through papers as it crashed. Maybe someone should check who initiated the damned call.

That's not really necessary because the driver can just ignore the phone all together or just answer and say that he will call back later.
That's what we are told to do. We are not obligated to talk on the phone while driving.
It's the driver's responsibility. "Is it safe for me to put some focus on this call and the papers?"

An example:
If the dispatcher call me and want to give me a safety order over the phone, I can tell the dispatcher to wait for me to call back. If it can't wait, I'll just slow down or stop completely.
So even the most important call that's related to the actual train I'm driving doesn't have higher priority than the train itself. I can make the decision to stop and they shouldn't question me doing that.

The description of the high speed line that ends with this horrible curve is confusing.
I can tell you that tunnels remove some of the ability to locate yourself.
The whole signal project is a big ?.
ASFA hasn't provided any layer of safety other than 200 km/h which is the current limit of that line anyway.
That level of protection is what we in Sweden have if we drive on a line that is not equipped with ATC but the train is. But I'm not aware of any line in Sweden that lacks ATC and exceeds 100 km/h.
I've only proceeded at 100 km/h without ATC.
If the line is equipped with ATC but the train isn't or ATC has failed, we are only allowed to proceed at 80 on the line and 40 at stations but never exceed local speed limits.

ADIF needs a big slap in the face and I hope there will be legal proceedings due to the accident against ADIF and RENFE, separated from the driver's case.
None of these details frees the driver from any form of responsibility.
The driver alone is not the devil here.