Montauban english summary
On Saturday 26 April 2006, freight train number 467 473, belonging to Veolia Cargo France, travelling from Bordeaux to Boussens, made an emergency stop in Montauban Station after it had failed to stop, despite the brakes being applied, at the signals which protected the point of convergence of the Brive - Toulouse and Agen - Toulouse lines. From the time the emergency brake was applied when the warning that the stop signal was at red and the point at which the train effectively stopped the distance travelled by the train was about 3,300 metres.
Thankfully here were no casualties and no material damage thanks to the rapid reactions of the Montauban signalman and thanks to the absence of rail traffic at the point of convergence and on the track that the train 467 473 was travelling on.
This incident could have become a serious accident if circumstances had been slightly different.
The immediate cause of the incident was the sending off of train 467 473 when the train’s braking system had been neutralised. Two human errors were at the bottom of the train sliding.
after the final positive test of the brakes, the main pipe taking the compressed air into the brakes was closed in order to finish the preparation of the locomotives and was not reopened before the train left
the train left without a brake continuity test.
This faulty condition persisted even though it could, in normal circumstance, have been detected by the driver at the start of the journey on two separate occasions, which was not the case.
Two organisational causes contributed to the defective application of safety instructions : imprecision in the work programme for making up the train and a lack of hierarchical and contractual checking.
The report made four recommendations concerning the checking of professional practices and on the organisation and preparation of trains :
drawing up of ’engine rotas’ which would indicate clearly what was involved in the every-day preparation of engines
checking the accuracy of the details of the composition of the train
the systematic application of a ‘breaking on the line effectiveness test’ after a train has left
the implementation of more effective hierarchical control of staff making up the trains and driving them.