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Author Topic: Train crash at Br^tigny-sur-Orge - multiple fatalities - 12 July 2013  (Read 37064 times)
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« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2013, 09:25:03 pm »

[I can not recall an incident where a passenger in a train has been electrocuted by the passage of OLE (Overhead Line Equipment, more often "OHLE") fault current through a train. 

Neither can I. The "Faraday Cage" effect would see any current running to earth around passengers, rather than through them. I have twice, in former times, seen Blackpool trams - both double-deckers - "brewed up" by a catastrophic short circuit. No passengers were harmed, although many were shaken by the sight and noise, and even more were inconvenienced.

That's when you find out that adrenalin is brown, very runny  and can be found in your under pants  Shocked  Shocked  Grin
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« Reply #31 on: July 17, 2013, 12:30:29 pm »

No one has yet reported that it was a fishplate stuck in a diamond cross-over some yards north of the station...twitter photo (which I meant to grab) showed it stuck in the crossover. A loose nut on the wooden (rather old & splitting) sleeper that the diamond crossing was attached to.
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stuving
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« Reply #32 on: July 17, 2013, 06:28:26 pm »

No one has yet reported that it was a fishplate stuck in a diamond cross-over some yards north of the station...twitter photo (which I meant to grab) showed it stuck in the crossover. A loose nut on the wooden (rather old & splitting) sleeper that the diamond crossing was attached to.
Er - actually I did, on Saturday, and on Sunday (in http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=12646.msg135922#msg135922) with a link to several pictures.
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« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2013, 06:39:41 pm »

Indeed you did. It was the mention of it having rotated while attached by one bolt that threw me - the photos in that article you linked to very clearly shiws one totally loose fishplate in the diamond of the crossing damaged where the train has obviously gone over it, and another loose lying on the sleeper aside the diamond. Neither attached by one bolt
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stuving
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« Reply #34 on: July 17, 2013, 07:04:50 pm »

Indeed you did. It was the mention of it having rotated while attached by one bolt that threw me - the photos in that article you linked to very clearly shiws one totally loose fishplate in the diamond of the crossing damaged where the train has obviously gone over it, and another loose lying on the sleeper aside the diamond. Neither attached by one bolt
Strange - what I see in the article is a diagram that explains how it rotated, and a picture that shows one bolt in place that might or might not still be intact right through the fishplate. Clicking through to the original picture, full size, I think the bolt is still there but a bit bent (understandable after a train has gone over it).

So is there another picture that shows it better?
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« Reply #35 on: July 17, 2013, 08:05:30 pm »

From Twitter, so in the public domain:


Somebody tell me if there's a copyright notice embedded. I couldn't see anything. The Twitter description says "Plan and picture of splints" - the French word "eclisse" is used for fishplate.

There's a second picture in the SNCF (Societe Nationale des Chemins de fer Francais - French National Railways) Twitter feed:



These two, and the plans are brought together in RTL.fr, which includes a quote by Jacques Rapoport of RFF, which is roughly translated as "We know what happened, but not why it happened".

Messy.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 08:24:19 pm by Four Track, Now! » Logged

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stuving
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« Reply #36 on: July 17, 2013, 08:08:21 pm »

Yes - that's the one in the article I was talking about. I think you can just about see the bolt going through the rail and fishplate.
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« Reply #37 on: July 17, 2013, 08:32:52 pm »

I see what you mean, Stuving. It might not be as it looks, of course. There are what look like undamaged loose bolts in those pictures, plus the one through the rail. The metallurgist will be able to interpret this scene, to show what order everything came apart in.
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« Reply #38 on: July 19, 2013, 11:18:18 am »

A couple of things struck me in the pictures. It was always clear that the bits sitting on the rail in the second one had been collected and put there, presumably after the main legal record photos had been done. Looking closer, I see several rusty bolts, presumably discarded during earlier work. Isn't this now regarded as unacceptable in Britain, at least since Potters Bar and Grayrigg?

There are a number of new-looking loose nuts, but also what look like bolt heads (square) and shafts that have been sheared. What stands out by its absence a shaft with a nut still on it. It is not clear which way the bolts went through this particular joint - the gap on one side looks narrow enough to hinder inserting a bolt, but maybe not. You can see why the official response has been one of energetic head-scratching.
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« Reply #39 on: July 19, 2013, 06:58:17 pm »

A couple of things struck me in the pictures. It was always clear that the bits sitting on the rail in the second one had been collected and put there, presumably after the main legal record photos had been done. Looking closer, I see several rusty bolts, presumably discarded during earlier work. Isn't this now regarded as unacceptable in Britain, at least since Potters Bar and Grayrigg?

There are a number of new-looking loose nuts, but also what look like bolt heads (square) and shafts that have been sheared. What stands out by its absence a shaft with a nut still on it. It is not clear which way the bolts went through this particular joint - the gap on one side looks narrow enough to hinder inserting a bolt, but maybe not. You can see why the official response has been one of energetic head-scratching.

I feel the French Railways might be going through the same sort of problems that surrounded the UK (United Kingdom) Railways 10 to 12 years ago, fragmented organisation, lack of investment etc
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« Reply #40 on: September 11, 2013, 11:08:04 pm »

Le Monde reported yesterday that the judicial investigators had observed over 40 anomalies in the set of points that caused the derailment. On closer reading, these are things listed by investigators with no expert knowledge, that should be referred for an expert opinion - which is not really the same. However, they still wanted to add a charge against RFF of "knowingly risking other people's lives" - which was refused by the prosecutor's office.

No sign yet of report - BEA-TT (equivalent to RAIB (Rail Accident Investigation Branch)) seem not to do interim reports.

At the same time, CFDT (not the biggest rail union, and certainly not usually the noisiest) has tried to link this accident to the state of the Nantes to St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie line, in a letter to the ministry. The fact that this line is in dire need of replacement is not news - as reported elsewhere on this forum. The supposed link is lack of money, due to it all going on TGVs (Train a Grande Vitesse) and LGVs (Large Goods Vehicle). Again, not much real news behind the headline.
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« Reply #41 on: September 24, 2013, 01:48:02 am »

Le Figaro has got hold of SNCF (Societe Nationale des Chemins de fer Francais - French National Railways)'s initial report to the investigating judge, submitted on July 22nd (ten days after the accident). It concludes (from the rust in the hole) that the fishplate that jumped had been missing a bolt (No. 3) for some time. Perhaps suprisingly it was bolts 1 and 2 that sheared and it pivoted about bolt 4.

The opposite fishplate was worse, with one bolt missing, one missing a nut, and the other two loose! This passed inspection eight days earlier.

SNCF have responded with a press briefing, but with no direct recording of it - but have released the report itself: http://medias.sncf.com/sncfcom/pdf/presse/Rapport-Bretigny-Deraillement-train-n3657-12juillet2013.pdf. I'll have a further look at it tomorrow and report here, but initially it seems that Le Figaro have the basic facts.
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« Reply #42 on: September 24, 2013, 11:55:41 am »

The main points of this report are indeed the ones already noted. I won't copy all the pictures; I think most are pretty clear without the words. The damage to the brake disc in figure 7 is on the last axle of the third carriage, which did not derail. It is thus thought this contact flipped the fishplate, already bouncing up, into the flangeway.

A few other things:
  • the line speed limit is 150 kph
  • these Corail carriages are rated for 200kph - which surprises me a bit
  • the fishplate in question is on the RH switch rail before the double slip crossing
  • the fishplate in a worse state is on the LH switch rail after the same crossing
  • the trackwork was installed in 1991, with a planned life of 25 years
  • it looks more dated than that to me - and the wooden sleepers look a bit rough
  • it is reported, but as not being a causal factor, that 20 sleepers were replaced under a another of this set of crossings in May and June 2013 (to correct a twist of 27 mm/3 m) because they were the wrong height when installed!
  • all of the observations of track components have the caveat "subject to detailed metallurgical examination", or in the case of the motion of the fishplate "requiring detailed dynamical modelling"

The layout also looks dated to me - with its long diagonal track having a double slip where it crosses each running track. I've seen similar pre-war layouts here, but none in use now. Why were they thought clever then, and more importantly why are they now not acceptable? Is it anything to do with reliability and maintenance?
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« Reply #43 on: September 26, 2013, 09:14:46 am »

Another piece in Le Figaro. They have got hold of some track inspection records going back to February, and say that these did mention faults on this stretch of line. However, the detail is a bit lacking - while they say a missing bolt was recorded in February, it may have been a different one. They reproduce part of the last inspection sheet, noting it was done by a newly-appointed young engineer walking the line alone rather than with a lookout. This does note some bolts to be tightened, but none missing, and stops just before the accident location.

Severe cracking on one of the rails was recorded in April at the relevant joint, with "must repair within 3 months" urgency. It is hard to see how this could have been examined without seeing the missing bolt. One of their "experts" commented that that the inner bolts were much more important that the outer ones, to the extent that on first finding one missing you would swap a bolt from the outside. Does that sound right? I find it hard to believe.

http://www.lefigaro.fr/actualite-france/2013/09/26/01016-20130926ARTFIG00280-bretigny-des-anomalies-avaient-ete-reperees-plusieurs-mois-avant-l-accident.php
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« Reply #44 on: September 26, 2013, 04:10:01 pm »

Another piece in Le Figaro. They have got hold of some track inspection records going back to February, and say that these did mention faults on this stretch of line. However, the detail is a bit lacking - while they say a missing bolt was recorded in February, it may have been a different one.
SNCF (Societe Nationale des Chemins de fer Francais - French National Railways) have responded immediately to point out that Le Figaro have misunderstood these inspection reports. That's easy to do, since they are written in a very abbreviated form of railway jargon. Still, on a national newspaper the journalists ought to know where they only have "a little learning". Maybe the experienced railwaymen they consulted had the wrong kind of experience?

The two key errors were that the piece of the relevant double slip crossing that was cracked was actually an earth continuity connection (bond), not a rail, and the bolt noted as missing was not in a fishplate, but in a gauge tie bar. They did use the right word for this (entretoise but did not understand it.

The SNCF site http://www.sncf.com/fr/fil_info/presse/Bretigny-rapport-enquete has the three relevant inspection sheets plus a short document pointing out the errors, and that this section of track was subjected to "fixing and tightening" visit in week 12 (March). The sheets still contain lots of puzzling cryptic entries, especially the last one (4th July). I've managed to find most of the jargon words involved, but not their abbreviations.
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