Better security 'could have prevented' metro tragedy

1st August 2006, Comments 0 comments

1 August 2006, VALENCIA – Metro drivers’ unions believe the metro crash in Valencia could have been prevented by a beacon or by a more modern safety system.

1 August 2006

VALENCIA – Metro drivers’ unions believe the metro crash in Valencia could have been prevented by a beacon or by a more modern safety system.

The unions representing workers of Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGV) gave evidence on Tuesday on the last day of the inquiry into the tragedy which killed 43 people.

Javier Golf, a representative for the independent rail union SIF, a driver for the last 23 years, said last November he asked for a beacon to be installed at the bend on the track where the accident occurred.

Although he said the beacon would not have "totally prevented" the accident, it could have made a difference.

Under the safety system on line 1, where the accident happened, beacons send signals to the trains, causing the train to break if it is going at an excessive speed to tackle a bend.

He had also asked for the introduction of the Automatic Train Protection system, which is used on the rest of the Valencia metro lines and on the Madrid, Bilbao and Barcelona metros.

The ATP system automatically breaks a train if it exceeds more than 1km the allowed speed.

When the Valencia train crashed it was doing more than double the correct speed.

UGT union representative Roberto Navarro argued ATP "would have avoided" the accident because the train would never have exceeded 40 kilometres per hour.

The number one metro line – the oldest in the Valencia network - was safe "but not sufficiently", he said.

Francisco Machado, CC OO spokesman, said: "a beacon in the proper place would have prevented the accident and its consequences". He said the current system was safe but had to be used to its maximum potential.

Once the inquiry closes, its conclusions will be summarised and presented to the Valencian parliament.

So far, though, FGV operations director said the evidence had only established that speed was the cause. However, no one knows "what happened to the driver" who only braked once the crash had occurred.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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