Allinges english summary

At about 13:55 on Monday 2 June 2008 a coach carrying school children was hit by a regional express train near the town of Allinges in Haute-Savoie. The accident happened on level crossing no. 68 intersecting the Evian to Annemasse railway line and the RD 233 between Allinges and the RD 1005, on the shore of Lake Geneva.
7 people died and 33 were injured (3 seriously) ; all passengers on the coach.

The immediate cause of this accident was the fact that the bus was stationary on the level crossing with its rear still on the railway line.
The reason why the bus was stationary, which could not be precisely established, could be a combination of mechanical problems (injection, gear box) and human factors (driver panic, wrong manoeuvre).

Two factors, related to the configuration and method of operation of the level crossing, also played a part in this accident :
 the difficult geometry of the road crossing, making crossing the level crossing a lengthy and tricky process for heavy vehicles forced to travel very slowly ;
 the narrow safety margin allowed by the train announcement delay (firstly before the lowering of the half-barriers and secondly before the arrival of the train) for a vehicle entering the crossing just as the announcement signal is given.

The mechanical condition of the bus and the driver’s lack of experience on this vehicle could also have played a part in this accident.

After this investigation BEA-TT issued three recommendations aimed at :
 specifying actions to be taken when level crossing safety inspections find that some road vehicles have problems making the crossing ;
 adjusting the rules for setting the train announcement and barrier closure delays to take account of the actual time it takes for authorised road vehicles to cross level crossings ;
 specifying the sphere of use of additional flashing red lights which can be placed behind the lights on level crossings.

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