Saint-Médard-sur-Ille english summary

On Monday 26 November 2007, at about 17.00, a lorry trailer combination loaded with gravel and travelling on a local road, the RD 106, was hit by a Regional Express Train (TER) travelling between Rennes and Saint-Malo on the level crossing (LC) no. 11 at Saint-Médard-sur-Ille (Ille-et-Vilaine département ).
There were 40 wounded of whom 22 were taken to hospital, all passengers on the train.

The direct and immediate cause of the accident was the lorry trailer combination slowing and then stopping on the LC due to the closure of the half barrier that halted traffic going the other way.

Five other factors also had a part to play in this accident :
- the inappropriate reaction of the driver who tried to lift the half barrier that was blocking his path when the imminent arrival of the train dictated that he should have broken the barrier and cleared the rails.
- the difficult layout of the LC which constrained heavy vehicles (of which there are a large number on this route) to use the centre of the roadway making the crossing difficult
- the putting in place of shuttle working that straddled the LC and which might increase risk (crossing the half barriers going the other way, signage confusion)
- the simultaneous arrival at the LC of two HGV each going a different way, while each driver thought they were in a contraflow
- the absence of any assessment of the risk that this shuttle working might present, in particular, the failure to consult the regional level crossing expert by those who were responsible for construction at the Saint-Médard-sur-Ille station site.

The injuries to the passengers were caused by them being projected onto the internal fittings of the coach in particular against the seats.

The analysis of the factors causing the accident has led us to make three recommendations concerning the layout and use of LCs, the assessment by the rail company of the risks caused by work near one of these sites as well as the technical rules governing the implementation of shuttle working.
Also, this report provides an opportunity for public authorities to start a campaign to warn of the dangers users face when venturing onto level crossings, widen the distribution of the road transport authority’s (SETRA) documents on works close to level crossings, beyond just project managers and encourage ongoing European discussion on limiting the dangers posed by seats in the event of a collision.

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