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Transportation

In France, TGV Test Train Catches Fire, Derails, Killing 10 (mirror.co.uk) 129

McGruber writes with the Mirror's report that: Earlier today in Eckwersheim, France, TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) 2369 Test Train caught fire, derailed and overturned. Two carriages were partially submerged into a river and at least five people were killed. As of now, there are no direct links with the terrorist attacks on Paris and the train crash does not appear to have been caused deliberately. A TGV test train holds the record for the fastest wheeled train, having reached 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) on 3 April 2007. Today's derailment appears to have been the first fatal crash of a TGV while running at high speed.
NBC News reports that 10 people were killed, all employees of the French national railway system.
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In France, TGV Test Train Catches Fire, Derails, Killing 10

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  • http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com]

    Oh dear - but better than a terrorist attack. Actually high speed trains are an easy target - I'm surprised they haven't been attacked before now
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 14, 2015 @04:32PM (#50931433)

      I'm surprised they haven't been attacked before now.

      What did you think the French Resistance did throughout WW2?

      The reason civilians aren't being killed en masse every day isn't because nobody's thought of a way to do it, nor because we have near-perfect security services, but because nearly everybody alive has no desire whatsoever to commit mass murder. But humans have no conception of statistics, so we get hysterical over 0.0002% of Muslims in France attacking under 0.01% of Parisiens, even while routine transport accidents kill hundreds every day throughout Europe. (And don't get me start on genuine suicide through mental illness, which receives less and less attention of health services.)

      N.B. I still think those responsible in France are murderous bastards. My mother studied in Paris and I've enjoyed a lot of time there. But I am capable of putting things in proportion.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Right on the mark. The first thing is that such attacks _cannot_ be prevented. No, really not. You can only do a lot of damage trying to, like creating a police state or worse. The US has demonstrated how to be utterly stupid that way since 9/11. The second thing is that such attacks rarely ever happen and, compared to other causes, are not a relevant risk of death or injury, because almost all people that con do this (and those are very, very many, just think what a competent chemical engineer or physicist

        • Islam is disproportionately the religion of terrorist murderers in the world. It is not a coincidence, it is not the result of poverty. The Koran teaches psychopathy, and as long as Islam is allowed to survive, terrorism and the other hideous aspects of this abominable religion will continue.

          Civilization or Islam. Choose one.

          • {Christianity} is disproportionately the religion of {slaveholding} murderers in the world. It is not a coincidence, it is not the result of poverty. The {Bible} teaches psychopathy, and as long as {Christianity} is allowed to survive, {slavery} and the other hideous aspects of this abominable religion will continue.

            This statement used to be true. Things can change and the religion won't be blamed. Having a huge pool of underprivileged sex-starved young men at your disposal leads to easily radicalization.

          • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

            Middle eastern muslims thought pretty much the same thing about the murderous christian barbarians who invaded their heartland a thousand years ago. Both the bible and koran, and most other holy books, have some incredibly nasty bits. The vast majority of adherents to any major religion ignore those parts.

            • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

              murderous christian barbarians who invaded their heartland a thousand years ago

              Wow history much. The crusades were a response to Islamic expansionism and the fact that Islam was cutting off the path from Europe to the holy land. The Crusaders were hardly barbarians and the crusades were NOT unprovoked.

              • murderous christian barbarians who invaded their heartland a thousand years ago

                Wow history much. The crusades were a response to Islamic expansionism and the fact that Islam was cutting off the path from Europe to the holy land. The Crusaders were hardly barbarians and the crusades were NOT unprovoked.

                Considering the Crusaders actually did most of their killing in Europe - yeah, Barbarians would never do that.

              • Yeah right, hardly barbarians. How do you explain the crusades against the Czech, Balts and Russians then?

          • by gweihir ( 88907 )

            Bullshit. There have been enough Christian psychos in history and even atheist ones. The problem is not the religion. The problem is the psychos.

            • No one is claiming that only the religious are psychos.

              But if being a psycho was a game of football, they're starting the game with 12 players.

          • by dave420 ( 699308 )

            You are ignoring every other factor in the equation and focussing on some very visible characteristics, then ravaging what sanity was left by heaping on confirmation bias. This is how xenophobes and racists come to the conclusions they do.

            If what you said is true, then the millions of Muslims living around the world would be running around killing everyone. As there are over 1.6 billion Muslims, we'd all be dead. As you are reading this, that's proof enough that you are wrong, and woefully ignorant to th

        • I think you are being a little bit too categorical. There are simple things that can be done to prevent terrorist attacks and it makes sense to do those things.

          For example, it makes sense that if someone checks in a bag at the airport but does not board the plane, the plane does not get to fly until that particular luggage has removed. I'm sure that 9999 times out of 10000 it's just that the passenger has fallen asleep while waiting for the plane, but being a little late is still a cheap price to pay to avo

          • by gweihir ( 88907 )

            You logic is fundamentally flawed:

            You seem to think that if you make it harder to place a bomb in airport luggage, then the terrorist will go home defeated and cry. That is complete nonsense. The bomb will just be placed somewhere else more vulnerable. And there will always be a lot of targets to chose from in a free society.

            And then, what does recognizing people help, if you DO NOT KNOW who is preparing such an attack? Incidentally, "catching 10% of the Infiltrators" does not help one bit. Apparently you m

            • Every obstacle that you put between people and their goals have a filtering effect. If you catch X% of terrorists, then the number of attacks will drop by X%, to a first approximation at least. Keep in mind that most terrorists aren't geniuses and that terrorist have limited amounts of motivation and imagination.

              It is true that the government and other security workers are incompetent, but that incompetence is not complete and utter, it is only partial, which means that it can be measured as a percentage. I

              • by gweihir ( 88907 )

                As I said, you model is wrong. The "filtering effect" is a pure fantasy for this case. You cannot "deter" a "would-be" terrorist, as these do not exist. People that become terrorists are exceptionally strongly motivated to carry out their attacks. It is not some minor shift in attitude. There is a threshold-effect at work and everything beneath the very high threshold has no effect at all. Reaching this high threshold generally is not possible in a free society.

                You model is that of a typical theorist that h

                • So how do you explain that the luggage compartment bombings largely stopped after measures were put in place?

                  • by gweihir ( 88907 )

                    1. Bombings in other places
                    2. Less bombings overall for unrelated reasons

                    Seriously, you can shift where terrorists attack, but you cannot prevent the attacks by guarding a few possible targets better. Terrorists do not strike because they see an opportunity for fun, they strike because they are hardened fanatics.

      • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Saturday November 14, 2015 @07:07PM (#50932209)

        Most people understand and accept the risks of accidental deaths for the sake of modern conveniences, like driving in cars, flying commercial airliners, and of course, taking trains like this. The reason we react the way we do to terrorism is because it's a deliberate, cold-hearted act of barbarity that takes the lives of innocent people for the sake of politics, ideology, religion, or some combination thereof. The tragedy of the Paris attacks is not that so many people died. As you point out, probably more people died in traffic accidents that day in Europe. The tragedy is that those people died so needlessly.

        While this presumed accident is sad, particularly for the family and friends of the victim, they can take comfort in knowing that perhaps this will lead to safer operations for others in the future. We tend to learn our hardest lessons from accidents like these. Hopefully future trains will be safer as a result of the investigation into whatever went wrong here.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

          Most people understand and accept the risks of accidental deaths for the sake of modern conveniences, like driving in cars, flying commercial airliners, and of course, taking trains like this. The reason we react the way we do to terrorism is because it's a deliberate, cold-hearted act of barbarity that takes the lives of innocent people

          You've not driven much, have you? Crashes are about 95% human error. Deliberate errors are most of those. The act of running the red was quite deliberate. The act of speeding while doing it. The act of hitting the other car may not have been deliberate, but then, if you point a gun and fire at someone, nobody assumes it was unintentional until proven otherwise, but with cars, it's the opposite. But the large number of insanely poor drivers allowed on the road, killing a 9/11 worth of people every mont

        • It's also worth pointing out that terrorist groups will make themselves more and more annoying until they are dealt with. Better to deal with them when the numbers are smaller, rather than waiting until the casualties are significant.
          • It's also worth pointing out that terrorist groups will make themselves more and more annoying until they are dealt with. Better to deal with them when the numbers are smaller, rather than waiting until the casualties are significant.

            Well, the British should have acted sooner, before the terrorists got their own state out of their actions.

            And remember to kill as many innocent civilians as possible while fighting terrorists, that way they can''t become infected with terrorism.

          • by dave420 ( 699308 )

            If by "deal with them" you mean discuss their grievances, I totally agree. If their grievances are valid, deal with them. If they are not, you've just shown their cause to be completely without merit. The British took a long time to realise that they had to talk with the terrorists (thanks, Maggie, for delaying that as long as possible!). Once that happened, the Brits realised the republicans' grievances were legitimate, and afterwards both sides worked towards peace, both losing political clout in the

    • High speed trains have been attacked -- a French TGV was bombed in 1983. Two people were killed by the bomb.

      At the same time a bomb, placed by the same group, went of in a toilet in a railway station -- it killed 3 people.

      So toilets are better targets than high speed trains.

    • by Askmum ( 1038780 )

      I'm surprised they haven't been attacked before now

      What do yo mean? Have you forgotten already the august 21 attack on the Thalys train? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      In Germany there have been a number of attacks on railroads, most in connection with leftist terror groups.

      But even though. It is probably hard to effect the same result. Even a major crash like the ICE at Eschede had less casualties than this Paris attack.

  • Overspeed kills (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Driving faster than the tracks allow is dangerous regardless of the absolute speed. Die Mariazellerbahn in Austria showed this quite clearly in 1981. A train was driving too fast, derailed on a bridge and the locomotive fell off and killed the driver. I can't find the actual speed or speed restriction, but with a locomotive top speed of 50 km/h, it would be a high speed accident in slow motion. It was the first AC electric locomotive class btw, operating from 1911 to 2013 and the other 15 engines survived a

  • by phayes ( 202222 ) on Saturday November 14, 2015 @04:17PM (#50931387) Homepage

    Says who? From pictures I've seen any fire was _after_ the accident and pretty limited. Who exactly is spreading this (dis)information?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Says who? From pictures I've seen any fire was _after_ the accident and pretty limited. Who exactly is spreading this (dis)information?

      How about you stop spreading FUD?

      All reports and eye witness accounts do in fact state that the fire was the result of the bridge strike. And guess what happens to a burning train hurtling out of control down the tracks? Maybe it would derail and overturn?

      But you're seen photos. So I guess we are all wrong.

    • Who exactly is spreading this (dis)information?

      (Di)ce? :p

    • Says who? From pictures I've seen any fire was _after_ the accident and pretty limited.

      I'm amazed at your ability to determine if there was a fire burning before an accident based on seeing a picture of a fire burning after an accident.

      Who exactly is spreading this (dis)information?

      By all accounts a Slashdot users called phayes

      • by phayes ( 202222 )

        The train ended up partially in a canal and the burned parts I saw were limited to an emerged section with the adjacent submerged section showing no signs of fire. So, really really hard for someone like you to see if the fire was before the accident and easy for everyone else.

  • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Saturday November 14, 2015 @04:20PM (#50931393)

    Just as a reminder, this is a test train crash, not in service, only 49 people inside, all employees.
    Excessive speed may be the cause but it is yet unconfirmed.

    I don't believe in a link with terrorists attacks. What terrorist would attack a test train? Especially one that is has nothing special. For a successful train attack, it is probably the one that will get you the least attention.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Just as a reminder, this is a test train crash, not in service, only 49 people inside, all employees.

      Yet they are still people. The theory goes that people working with trains should know the risks involved (at least according to one internal document I once saw, not in France, but still regarding railroads). However it doesn't make much sense to me because what would have happened if 3 people claimed the test train to be too dangerous? Would they be fired for refusing work? Also who knew the train would be speeding? (if that's the cause). Even with expert knowledge, they could still be victims of one driv

    • I don't believe in a link with terrorists attacks. What terrorist would attack a test train?

      A mistaken one?

  • by Thunderf00t ( 4313909 ) on Saturday November 14, 2015 @04:49PM (#50931507)

    It's of course tragic that the French National Railway employees were killed, but it probably would have been worse for the nation as a whole if this came out as another round of Islamist terrorism. It's a sad thing when ten people die, and you think something like, "well, at least they weren't murdered."

    Hopefully, they'll be able to figure out what went wrong with the train and prevent any further tragedies (especially when the trains are loaded with passengers).

    • It's a sad thing when ten people die, and you think something like, "well, at least they weren't murdered."

      Sufficiently advanced negligence is indistinguishable from homicide.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This test train was testing the new line.

    The TGV that set the world record wasn't a test train. It was a set specially marshaled and modded for the record attempt.

    Stop with the sensationalist bullshit already.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Well, they got a clear test result. And in addition, they found out that their test protocols are fundamentally broken.

  • Still, if your burning train leaves the track there is one small benefit in it finishing in a canal.

  • I.e. stupid "engineers" not really understanding the technology they are using.

    In this case: "Can it go even faster?" Result: No, it cannot.
    In Chernobyl: "Can it cool itself?" Result: No, it cannot.

    • Hey, from both things we learned something. Next on the agenda: Is touching a hot stove plate good or bad for your epidermis?

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Or rather: Is giving terrorists that just attacked you a lot of attention and a lot of threats and generally telling them that they had great success a good idea or not?

    • In Chernobyl: "Can it cool itself?" Result: No, it cannot.

      Actually reactor 3 more than likely could have cooled itself. The problem was that the operator took power levels down way below what the tests had been designed for, and then tried to overcompensate for the xenon core poisoning by retracting way too many control rods manually to raise power levels instead of doing the sane thing and aborting the test and finishing with a full shutdown.
      That said, the reactor did have some rather large design flaws that after the initial operator err

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Sane test design takes this into account. Insane test design (as in Chernobyl) expects everything to go according to plan and does not look as the risks of running the test in the first place.

  • Test trains often run with the safety systems disabled and the train run manually at 10% above the normal maximum speed. If it's safe at this speed, you can be confident that it will be safe at operational speeds too. However, since it's run manually there is more potential for catastrophic human error, as seems to have been the case here.

  • We have to wait for final investigation result before speculate on terrorist attack etc..RIP to all involved in this tragic accident
  • For a service car this is a pretty spectacular accident. By comparison the Shinkansen [Bullet Train] equivalent Dr. Yellow has never had such an accident.

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