The Tempi train collision disaster investigation committee has issued its findings in a 228-page report, 52 days after the tragedy that took the lives of 57 people. The findings report blames a multitude of factors including infrastructure, individuals and organizations in charge and makes a series of safety recommendations.
The deadly rail accident at Tempi on February 28 was the result of a multitude of factors related to the functioning, personnel and technological equipment, including on an administrative level, of the railroads, the Experts’ Committee note in their report released on Thursday.
The report said that both, organizations and individuals, were to blame for the accident that claimed 57 lives.
It assigns blame for the deadly train collision on February 28 to state-run Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) and its subsidiary ERGOSE, the Regulatory Authority for Transport and the private Italian company Hellenic Train, as well as the station master and the train drivers on that fateful night, “who appear not to have followed the rules.” Indirectly it also assigns blame to politicians for failing to upgrade the rail network.
Among the other findings are:
- -The problems of the Greek Railways are “chronic” and largely related to the gradual preference of citizens for alternative modes of transportation.
- -Delays in the implementation of all the contracts for the upgrade of the railway network are a very big problem due to all those involved in the tender procedures but also to their poor organization and execution by the contracting authorities.
- -There was no remote control system
- -Signaling problems: the electrical lateral signaling on the Larissa – Thessaloniki section has been out of service since July 2019 due to the fire at the Larissa remote control center at “Zachari” location, but rail traffic is managed by a telephone communication system between the Larissa and Neoi Poroi stations
- -The appointment of the station master was illegal; his appointment should have been rejected. (more report details at documento.gr in Greek)
The report also pointed out the need for an immediate modernization of the railway and radical changes to the training of the staff.
The Committee noted that report’s job was to review and present the evidence, not to attribute or apportion liability and blame, which was the Justice’s job according to the Constitution and the laws.
State minister Giorgos Gerapetritis currently in charge also for Transport said that the rail disaster report details “serious violations” of safety procedures and long-standing “systemic failures.”
It is worth noting that the president of the Union of Engine Drivers of the OSE, Kostas Genidounias, complained that the Experts’ Committee did not call him, or any other member of the Union, to testify, but only for the delivery of the relevant extrajudicial documents they had sent warning about the situation in the rail network.