Paris-Est english summary

publié le 17 février 2011

At 8.23 am on Thursday 05 April 2007, suburban train 117120, comprised of a Z2N double motor unit and travelling from Château-Thierry to Paris, collided into the buffer of platform 21 in Paris-Est train station at a low speed. This train was in the latter stages of its journey Meaux-Paris and was exceptionally crowded (easily more than 2,200 passengers) due to disruptions to previous trains.

58 people with minor injuries were attended to by the emergency services.
The material damage was limited to the buffer of platform 21 and the front and intermediate systems of the train.

The rail infrastructure was not at fault. The driver was endeavouring to reduce the delay in leaving Meaux by gaining 16% over the journey time in accordance with driving regulations. Although he had correctly passed the last KVB beacon (speed control by beacons) at the rear of the arrival platform and was careful to avoid releasing the passenger doors (6 km/h threshold), the driver braked to bring the train to a complete stop at a late stage. Realising that there was a danger that the train would be unable to stop in time, he applied the brakes of his train in full instead of emergency braking (pressing the emergency push button), which could have reduced the stopping distance.

The identified causes or aggravating factors of the accident are the following :
- late braking,
- the failure to use the emergency brakes,
- the reduction in breaking power by one inactive bogy amongst the sixteen, and
- the rigidity of the buffers at the rear of platforms in Paris-Est train station, which increased the impact felt by passengers.

Doubts remain over the quality of handling of the brake as to the correct refilling of the braking equipment. Following confirmed cases in which the brake was partially worn by misuse, the feedback process introduced by the SNCF to make drivers aware of this risk was extended over a period that appeared excessively long, and had not been completed at the time of the accident.

Assessment of the conditions leading to this accident prompted the BEA-TT to make recommendations in the following areas :
- consideration of the particular features of the braking system (full application and emergency braking) in driving and training directives,
- improvement in the ergonomics in the braking system for future engines,
- quicker consideration of feedback in the continuous education of drivers,
- the speed criteria blocking and unblocking the passenger doors, and
- equipping the ends of platforms in Paris-Est train station with shock absorbers.