Valenciennes english summary

On Friday 11 April 2014 at 04:40, the 417 train left the Saint-Waast storage depot and entered the T1 tram line of the Valenciennes network. Only the first two bogies passed the switch to engage on track 1 properly. The third bogie continued its course on track 2 following a double track.
The train accelerated to 24km/h and continued sideways for 70 metres. It then collided with an overhead contact line support pillar located between the tracks. The train broke in two due to the impact and came to a stop.
The accident caused no injuries, only the driver was present. The accident caused extensive damage to the rolling stock and infrastructure.

The direct and immediate cause of this accident was the change of position of a switchgear between the passage of the second and the third bogie of the train when leaving the depot.
Several factors contributed to this accident :

  • a self-powered buggy going on the tracks the night before the accident, whose movement was not compatible with a normal operation of the signalling automation and which led to the track use being represented falsely in the command station ;
  • the existence of a programming error in the operating software of the control station since its installation, which made it impossible to correct this situation and which led to a degraded use ;
  • the organisation of traffic in degraded mode, with closed signal crossings and manual switching operations, without the application of strict measures to guarantee safety, such as the inhibition of automation.

These causes stem from the incorrect use of signalling automation by the operators, itself caused by a lack of precise instructions detailing the operating procedures to be implemented, and by the management’s lack of rigour in observing and dealing with security faults at the centralised control station.

The analysis of the causes led BEA-TT to make two recommendations addressed to the operator and related to the improvement of the operating instructions.
These recommendations are supplemented by an invitation to the STRMTG to finalise the guide on "Safety of tramway manoeuvring areas" to encourage designers, builders and operators to strengthen the safety of manoeuvring areas.

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