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Francardo english summary

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publié le 10 avril 2008

Technical investigation report on a rail accident that occurred in Francardo on 27 May 2005

On Friday 27 May 2005, at around 7:30 pm, train 51 from Bastia (Haute-Corse) to Corte (Haute-Corse) and train 8 from Ajaccio (Corse du Sud) to Bastia (Haute-Corse) collided head-on at kilometre point 53,200, between the stations of Francardo and Ponte-Leccia. These two trains were supposed to cross at the passing point at Francardo.

Train 8 had made up for most of the delay it had suffered. Seeing that train 51 had not yet arrived at Francardo, the guard of train 8 asked the signalman at Ponte-Leccia to switch the passing of the trains from Francardo to Ponte-Leccia. The latter agreed to do so, despite the fact that he had already routed train 51 to Francardo. Once train 8 left Francardo station, a head-on collision was inevitable.

Each driver saw the other train just before the collision, and they were able to perform emergency braking, thus limiting the impact. Neither train derailed and 14 people were slightly injured.

This accident was caused by human error (train sent down a single-line section that was already occupied) resulting from an exchange of defective dispatches (the text received was different from the text sent, the recipient failed to properly check the, etc.).

The investigation brought to light several factors that contributed to the accident, relating to the management of both train traffic and rail staff. It also produced the following recommendations :
- exchange dispatches according to a thorough procedure, by applying checking and real-time recording rules,
- make the dispatch register more legible,
- carry out a study to improve the current traffic management method, so as to prevent an error made by a single employee from causing an accident,
- keep to the speed limits,
- improve the performance of the radio system between the train and the control rooms,
- use one-to-one interviews as part of staff management.