Two trains collide near Rome

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Two trains have collided at Roccasecca, 120km south of Rome in the Frosinone province of Italy.

Initial reports claimed 30 injured, with people trapped in the wreckage. A BBC report however suggested there could be at least 40 injured. Two people have been reported missing since the collision occurred, possibly being the two drivers of the trains. One person was reported killed.

The incident is already under investigation by the Italian authorities and the Italian state Railway Operator, Trenitalia. As yet the reasons for the collison are unclear.

Relief efforts are being made difficult by the dark and cold weather.

The two trains were travelling on the same line, in the same direction, with different destinations. The first one (regional train number 3361) departed from the Roma Termini station, in Rome at 13:47 and was a local service to Cassino, stopping at the major stations along the route. The scheduled time of arrival was 15:38. The second train (inter-regional 2361) also left from the Rome terminus, at 14:15, and was heading in the same direction, with a final destination of Campobasso. The scheduled time of arrival was 17:27, and the first stop first stop was at Cassino, scheduled at 15:42.

Around 15:00 the first train had stopped at the station of Roccasecca, and was just to restart its journey, when the second train came at high speed on the same rail, slamming into the back of it. The locomotive of the second train was pushed over the first train and landed on the last carriage of that train. The injured were taken to local hospitals for treatment.

A similar incident recently happened in Southern Poland.

The train service has been suspended over the line. Long distance trains are reroutered on an alternative line (the one which pass through Formia, Villa Literna e Caserta

It has been alleged that the second train passed a red signal. However no evidence about that has been collected to support this at present. An operator of the railway stated that the signal should have been red, but what he has said came from what he saw on the control panel inside the station, he did not see the colour of the signals. The two train drivers of the second train said that they did not see red signals, but only green signals. It was alleged that the train has been misrouted. Actually if the second train had to pass the station without stopping and overtaking the first train it seems resonable that it would pass on a different track. Hovewer the railway authority has confirmed that there has been no error in this sense, because both trains were scheduled on the platform 2.

Several union representatives of the railways employed claim the security system on most of the Italian railways is not updated. The line was not serviced by an advanced security system to automatically help the driver. Works to implement a more modern security system were just made on the line and the new system would be ready in just some days. Nevertheless even if the line were equipped by a modern security system, it would be of no help in this case. The locomotive of the second train was a very old locomotive, a diesel locomotive of type 668, with no equipment to dialog with modern security system.

The inauguration of the new "high speed" line between Rome and Naples was in program just for the day after the crash. The inauguration have been delayed.

Casualty Updated (Dec. 22)

The official number of the casualties has risen to 69, and the number of the fatalities has risen to 1 (one of the injured, Antonio Vallillo, has passed away on December 22).

Sources

See also

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