Saint-Germain-des-Fossés english summary

At 08:37 on 15 December 2014 at Saint-Germain-des-Fossés station in the Allier Department, after moving about 500 metres at an estimated speed of 18 km/h, infrastructure inspection train No. 819 070 collided with regional express train No. 873 355 which was standing at the platform on the second part of track A awaiting departure to Vichy at 08:38.
The regional express train which was travelling between Moulins (03) and Clermont-Ferrand (63) was an AGC type three-car train with a thermal power unit. 80 people were on board.
The infrastructure inspection train was carrying out a shunting manoeuvre from a siding to track A alongside the platform, with the intention of leaving subsequently going towards Moulins. it consisted of a shunting locomotive and a platform vehicle equipped with an articulated boom for inspecting engineering works. Four SNCF Réseau personnel were on board. Its departure was initially planned for 08:30.
The driver of the infrastructure inspection train requested authorisation by mobile telephone to carry out this manoeuvre from the signalman at Saint-Germain-des-Fossés station from the siding where it was stopped. After signal Cv13 opened to indicate that the train could be set in motion, the infrastructure inspection train proceeded towards track A. The shunting locomotive was at the rear of the train and the platform vehicle at the front prevented the driver from seeing the track in front of him.
Four passengers of the regional express train and three SNCF Réseau personnel on the infrastructure inspection train were injured.

The direct cause of the accident was the decision of the driver of the infrastructure inspection train to carry out a shunting manoeuvre without visibility in the direction of the main lines without being guided by a movement controller. In fact he therefore contravened the regulatory procedures and above all simple safety logic.

Several factors contributed to this situation :

  • a vague telephone conversation with the station signalman which led the driver of the infrastructure inspection train to assume that he was moving towards a vacant track at the platform ;
  • the composition of the infrastructure inspection train, which consisted of an engine at the rear and an articulated boom wagon at the front which prevented the driver from seeing ahead ;
  • absence of the appointed movement controller following an organisational error, which led the driver to carry out the manoeuvre without guidance.

This analysis led BEA-TT to seek preventive solutions in the following two areas :

  • improving the reliability of the operational system for monitoring SNCF Réseau drivers to improve the detection and correction of incorrect behavior ;
  • recording all operational conversations from the service telephones of signalmen.

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