Crash report reveals sequence of errors

Special commission appointed by government publishes conclusions about Tempe rail disaster

Crash report reveals sequence of errors

A report prepared by a special investigative commission appointed by the government to investigate the conditions that led to the February 28 deadly train collision in northern Greece has revealed a chain of errors.

More specifically, the 228-page report, which is divided into 10 chapters, assigns blame to state-run railway company OSE, its subsidiary ERGOSE, responsible for building infrastructure, to the Railroad Regulatory Authority (RAS), to private train operator Hellenic Train, as well as the station master who set the two trains on a collision course, and the deceased train drivers, who allegedly did not follow regulations.

The three-member expert panel also stresses the need to modernize the railway, identifying chronic problems, and the need for radical changes in matters of personnel transfers and training.

Referring to the report, Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis, responsible for infrastructure and transport, said “it would be advisable for those who criticized the commission for its objectivity and the government for its intentions to do their own self-criticism.”

He added that the findings are being made public so that there is full transparency in a matter in which there is understandably a major public interest.

The report, he stressed, highlights serious human violations of the rules and systemic failings of a long-standing nature.

He argued that most of the commission’s recommendations have already been implemented or are being initiated by the ministry.

The report refers to a number of frailties, including the absolute, as it seems, certainty of the stationmaster of Larissa that all his movements were correct, and as a result he even misinformed the driver of the fatal train.

It also noted that 37 out of 38 station masters passed their training exams in Thessaloniki with honors, with only one failing because he didn’t show up.

The report made reference to the railway modernization projects, which could have prevented the accident, while stressing that even when completed they would bring the Greek railway to the point where other European systems have been since the 1970s.

It also raised the issue of political party appointments in OSE, the allocation of projects in favor of contractors and the waste of public money.

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