Debate Surrounds Bretigny Train Crash

Authorities are probing into the deadly train crash that occurred on Friday at Bretigny-sur-Orges, just south of Paris.

The SNCF train had been heading toward Limoges when it derailed and crashed into the station platform. Six people died, and nearly 200 were injured in the accident. A total of 385 passengers were aboard.

The crash immediately came to the forefront of French news, as the rail company SNCF is France’s national state-owned railway. Additionally, the trains were particularly crowded, as it was the start of the weekend of le 14 juillet, or Bastille Day.

“The SNCF considers itself responsible,” said SNCF president Guillaume Pepy. A total of four cars derailed, with the third train car as the first to veer off track. Interestingly enough, another train passed through the station without incident half an hour before the accident.

French investigators have ruled out foul play as a cause of the accident. The current, tentative hypothesis suggest that the connectors on the rails themselves were defective — representatives from SNCF said that a metal bar linking the rails to the points had come loose about 200 meters outside the station at Bretigny. Investigators are delving deeper into the cause of the detachment, and SNCF is carrying out inspections on thousands of similar connections across France.

French transport minister Frederic Cuvillier praised the driver for his “absolutely extraordinary reflexes,” as the latter immediately sounded a call for help that prevented a collision with another oncoming train.

The incident has raised skepticism among some members of French public, as the French government just announced increased investments in the nation’s railways. Cuviller acknowledged there would be criticism that France was not investing enough in maintaining infrastructure.

French President Francois Hollande paid a visit to Bretigny following the accident. “There will be conclusions to draw from this,” he said in an official statement outside the station.

The train had been traveling at 137 kilometers per hour (85 mph).

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  1. […] are looking into the deadly train crash that occurred at Bretigny-sur-Orge, just south of Paris. The SNCF train had been heading toward Limoges when it derailed and crashed […]

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