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BEA-TT
Bureau d’Enquêtes sur les Accidents de Transport Terrestre

Nangis english summary

publié le 23 janvier 2019

At about 08:40 on Tuesday, 21 April 2015, a passenger train connecting Belfort to Paris Est station collided with an abnormal load on a low-clearance half-trailer transporting agricultural equipment hauled by a road tractor unit on level crossing No. 41, located on departmental road No. 419 at Nangis in Seine-et-Marne.
This violent collision caused serious injuries to three people including the train driver and minor injuries to 40 others. It caused serious damage to the articulated lorry and to the rail equipment and infrastructure.

The direct and immediate cause of this accident was the fact that the abnormal low-clearance load was stuck on the level crossing.
Several factors played or could have played a role in the occurrence of this accident :

  • the behaviour of the driver of the abnormal load who failed to comply with local traffic prohibitions ;
  • the lack of a sign warning of the hump at the level crossing, which is difficult to detect when approaching from the direction from which the damaged road vehicle had been moving. A sign to this effect has been placed since the accident ;
  • the pronounced hump at the level crossing was widely known and could have been aggravated a few months before the accident by ballast filling works and replacement of the decking ;
  • the fact that the telephones at the level crossing, which could have been used to stop the train or reduce its speed before the impact, were not used ;
  • the fact that the driver of the abnormal load had insufficient control of the half-trailer he was hauling on the day of the accident, which prevented him from increasing the ground clearance.

In view of these factors, BEA-TT made the following recommendations :

  • the first was to the Road Safety and Traffic Delegation (DCSR) concerning information provided for drivers of abnormal loads on the existence of level crossings that may be a problem to cross ;
  • the second was to the Directorate General for Infrastructure, Transport and the Sea (DGITM) on the use of the telephones at level crossings ;
  • the third was to the National Road Transport Federation (FNTR), the National Union of French Transport and Logistics Companies (TLF), the European Road Hauliers Association (UETR) and the National Union of Road Haulage Trade Union Organisations (UNOSTRA) on taking charge of new vehicles.

In addition, BEA-TT called on the managing agent of the rail infrastructure to ensure that an inspection was carried out of road profiles on level crossings that could cause difficulties for low-clearance vehicles to cross after any works that may have made the road more uneven.