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Transportation News

TGV Accident Caused By Excessive Speed (railwaygazette.com) 96

Cochonou writes: Analysis of the black boxes of the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) which derailed on Saturday revealed that the accident resulted from excessive speed and late braking. The test train entered a 945m-radius curve at a speed of 265 km/h, far over the maximum speed of 176 km/h. The French national railway company ruled out any other cause, such as mechanical failure or track mishap.

During test runs, a number of security features are disabled, in particular parts of the TVM system, which would have prevented any overspeed during normal service. This leaves the train speed under the sole responsibility of the driver.

The accident, which killed 11 people, occurred on the last run of the scheduled trials on the new high-speed line between Paris and Strasbourg. As more details on the accident surface, it becomes evident that this last run was performed in a festive spirit, with relatives (including children) of the employees on board, and seven people present in the train cab instead of train. This casts a shadow on the security procedures of the French national railway company: it appears that the high-speed train technology is considered so safe that the risks inherent to trials runs were somehow neglected. The two drivers and the traction inspector have been suspended pending possible criminal charges. Other changes in the management structure will probably follow.

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TGV Accident Caused By Excessive Speed

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  • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Friday November 20, 2015 @10:52AM (#50969525) Homepage Journal

    Black box audio from the train revealed seven spectators in the cab chanting "Plus vite! Plus vite! Plus vite!"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So it's not just rednecks and their pickup trucks.

  • by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Friday November 20, 2015 @11:03AM (#50969619)

    I was gonna say, "well, seeing what happens when you go too fast is part of a test pilot / driver's job", until the article mentioned bringing kids along. Ugh, that's reprehensible.

    • by Brett Buck ( 811747 ) on Friday November 20, 2015 @11:09AM (#50969667)

      You would have been wrong, anyway. There's no mystery whatsoever what happens for a particular turn radius, center of gravity, turn bank, and speed. Someone with the necessary information can calculate the derail speed within a few mph. There's nothing to be learned by trying to test the limits.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Please think a bit. This wasn't supposed to be a dangerous or destructive test in which there was likelihood of derailment and multiple deaths.

      A few weeks ago down the road here several people died at an airshow which had hundreds of kids in attendance. Everyone there knew there was a greater chance of an accident than when watching routine flying, but the chance is still very small, because nothing is done which is likely to cause a crash.

      Someone made the decision to drive at ridiculously unsafe speed. It

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I was gonna say, "well, seeing what happens when you go too fast is part of a test pilot / driver's job", until the article mentioned bringing kids along. Ugh, that's reprehensible.

      Well it depends, because part of the TGV tests in the final phase is public demonstration. It happened in Japan - their newest bullet train was running on test tracks, yet many people lined up to buy tickets to be the first to ride it (it can go over 500kph) because while it will take many years to build or upgrade the tracks to

  • "seven people present in the train cab instead of train" What is that suppose to even mean?
    • by Daetrin ( 576516 )

      "seven people present in the train cab instead of train" What is that suppose to even mean?

      I'm not one of those grammar knowing people, but i think that's technically correct english that's made needlessly vague by a couple omissions.

      "seven people present in the train cab instead of (in the) train (cars)."

      The cab being the driving compartment. The more colloquial term (at least in my neck of the woods) is usually the engine, but perhaps this train didn't have a separate engine car?

      You could argue that saying they were in the engine/cab instead of the train is inaccurate, since the cab is i

    • It was supposed to be "7 people present in the train cab instead of 3" in the original submission.
      I will not complain too much however, as the editors fixed a broken link.
  • ....crash caused by excessive speed. Who knew?
  • If there are criminal charges, I expect that they will be with token 'punishments'. To an average, sane, person, what punishment can compare to the knowledge that almost a dozen people were senselessly murdered because of your poor judgement? There are no reparations they could make to the victims or their families for the loss.

    This knowledge will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps you're not a native speaker, so maybe you should be made aware that "murder" does not merely mean "kill"; it means quite specifically that there was intent to kill.

      You should not use it in the context of an accident unless you're accusing someone of deliberately causing those deaths--in other words, unless you're claiming that it was not an accident.

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