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uffington sb
12th Jul 2016, 18:13
Yet another collision on a bi-directional single line.

Italy train crash: 'Twenty killed' near Bari in collision - BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36774059)

SpringHeeledJack
12th Jul 2016, 18:23
Makes you wonder why they don't revert to using the century old system of a physical key that has to be handed over to the crossing train driver. Poor souls in the front cars, gone in a second….

HeartyMeatballs
12th Jul 2016, 18:30
It is absolutely unacceptable for this to happen. Twice in Europe within the last year. This should be setting off alarm bells however I doubt very much if anything will change.

G-CPTN
12th Jul 2016, 20:47
What could possibly go wrong?

Blues&twos
12th Jul 2016, 21:08
Things most certainly do change as a result of accidents and subsequent investigations, although frequently quite slowly. A comparison between the types and frequency of accidents in the early days of the railway and today's figures show that.The old physical token system isn't foolproof either (are any systems)? The single-line head-on collision at Abermule in 1921 is a good example of how it can go wrong.

uffington sb
12th Jul 2016, 21:26
Now 23 dead.
A crash in 1921 B&ts? Not really relevant in today's railway.

Blues&twos
12th Jul 2016, 21:38
No, but my reply was in response to SHJ's post (#2) asking why they weren't using the century-old physical token system.

Sultan Ismail
13th Jul 2016, 04:28
Let's have a look at the Signalling Plan and the Control Tables. Anyone have a copy?

ORAC
13th Jul 2016, 05:25
Italian head-on collision leaves 23 dead | International Railway Journal (http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/europe/at-least-20-dead-in-italian-collision.html?channel=537)

....."The incident occurred at around 11.20am when trains ET1023 from Barletta Central to Bari Airport and ET1018 from Bari Airport to Barletta Central collided on a single-track section of the standard-gauge Bari - Barletta line between the towns of Corato and Andria. Both services were operated by Bari-based public transport operator Ferrotramviaria, which also owns the infrastructure.

The two trains involved in the collision were a Stadler ETR 341 Flirt EMU and an Alstom ELT 200 EMU.

Ferrotramviaria's 81km network is electrified at 3kV dc and includes 40km of single-track line. Track-doubling is underway on the section where the collision occurred and the line is still equipped with telephone block signalling. Last December the company had announced plans to install the Italian SCMT automatic train protection system on the Ruvo - Bitonto section of the Bari - Barletta line.

While the National Authority for Railway Safety (ANSF), monitors safety on most of the main line network in Italy, responsibility for monitoring safety on private railways such as Ferrotramviaria falls to Ustif, a branch the Italian Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.".....

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signalling_block_system#Telephonic_Block

...."Telephonic Block

In this system, the occupation of a given section of track between two stations is agreed between its station masters, via telephone.........

Portugal, Spain and France still use this system on at least some main lines, although the total length of track governed by this system is decreasing rapidly due to its labour intensity and its inherent perceived lack of safety, relying as it does primarily on human communication (sometimes involving more than just the two station masters at each end of the block) and simple railway interlockings at the stations..........

Sultan Ismail
13th Jul 2016, 08:06
I cannot understand why First World countries deny investment in First World safety systems. The Third World is far ahead in implementing First World systems e.g.Automatic Train Protection (ATP), Tokenless Bi-Directional Block, Axle Counters etc. Hi-vis vests would not have prevented this accident, the public have a right to be conveyed safely.
Sad to say this incident demonstrates that the most dangerous part of air travel is the trip to the airport.

DirtyProp
13th Jul 2016, 10:00
Sadly, my country is no longer First World.
Wonder if it ever was, really.

Sky Wave
13th Jul 2016, 12:05
I cannot understand why First World countries deny investment in First World safety systems. The Third World is far ahead in implementing First World systems e.g.Automatic Train Protection (ATP), Tokenless Bi-Directional Block, Axle Counters etc.

Agreed. I'm amazed that Italy would be relying on a station master to phone the next guy and then give a hand signal for the train to proceed. Does anyone have any additional information on the method of working? Is there an equivalent to a train register where by the person at each end has to record the train ID, the time that line clear is given and the time that the train enters the section? What about visual reminders for the status of the line? Also you'd imagine that there would be a customer information system to monitor train progress which would have a feed to the station master. Finally do Italian trains have radios to allow an emergency call to be made if it was realised that they had 2 in section?

sw

Blues&twos
13th Jul 2016, 12:42
That's a surprise. Looks like my earlier post may have some inadvertant relevance after all! ;-)
Actually, the system sounds more like the one which was involved in the Thorpe crash...in 1874...

Sky Wave
13th Jul 2016, 13:05
That's a surprise. Looks like my earlier post may have some inadvertant relevance after all! ;-)

Yes, My Tyre's electric token system (patented in 1878) would appear to represent a major improvement to the safety of these lines, as would a train staff and ticket working system!

sw

Super VC-10
13th Jul 2016, 18:27
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andria%E2%80%93Corato_train_collision

nippy1975
13th Jul 2016, 19:07
I'm a signalman and I'm truly astonished that such systems are still in operation. Thankfully none are like that in the UK.

Lonewolf_50
14th Jul 2016, 13:42
Already on the wiki page (thanks you Super VC-10) from various news sources.
EU funds were made available in April 2012 to upgrade this remaining section to double track, but at the time of the accident the work had only recently been put for tender One would have thought that local/regional businesses would have been eager to get the work and to start work. (Italian bureaucracy at its best, perhaps?)
Mayor of Corato Massimo Mazzilli said that the scene was "as if an airplane fell out of the sky". A train wreck is bad enough, why drag pilots/airplanes into this? :p

Stanwell
14th Jul 2016, 14:49
Having had just a little bit to do with the Italian way of doing things...
It probably took them that long arguing over long lunches to come close to agreeing on just who was going to get how much from the funding.
Sad.

er340790
14th Jul 2016, 15:19
A station master in southern Italy has admitted he allowed a train to go on a single track, minutes before a deadly collision with an oncoming train.
Twenty-three people died and 52 others were hurt in the head-on crash on a single track between Andria and Corato in the Apulia region on Tuesday.
"I let the train go, I was the one who gave the signal," Andria station master Vito Piccarreta told Italian media. But he was adamant he was not the only one at fault. Mr Piccarreta, a railway employee with 24 years of service, was quoted by La Stampa and other newspapers as saying: "I'm not the only one at fault, everyone is blaming me. But I'm a victim too."

I'm sure his lawyer with be delighted to hear it. :eek:

Blues&twos
14th Jul 2016, 17:45
But of course, working with a system like that, some poor sod is going to forget something, misunderstand or get distracted at a critical moment. "Human error" whilst being true, is usually a small part of the full story.

John Hill
14th Jul 2016, 22:00
Verbal clearances, is that not something they used to do with aircraft?

Tankertrashnav
14th Jul 2016, 22:07
You may not have noticed, but aircraft dont fly on rails!

Captain Dart
14th Jul 2016, 22:43
They may as well. Up in the RVSM Flight Levels with today's navigation systems, I never tire of watching the head-on jets swoosh over or under us at a closing speed around 1000 knots, 1000' dead above or below, right on our track. In the superior, quiet Airbus cockpit, you can actually hear them.

And where I fly, mostly done with verbal clearances.

megan
15th Jul 2016, 02:05
You remind us of the Brazilian midair Captain D. Near 200 dead (737) I think, without checking.

discernment
21st Jul 2016, 06:02
According to the Wikipedia, the two trains are ET1021 and ET1016, whereas, according to the newspapers, these are ET1023 and ET1018. I guess, the assumptions or hypotheses of the former is more persuading. That the train preceding to ET1016, which is ET1642, was delayed and when it reached Andria, the station master thought ET1016 arrived, which causes the disaster. Anyway, I can't believe that such an primitive block system exists. It might be quite natural that an accident like this might occur.

Sky Wave
22nd Jul 2016, 12:37
Verbal clearances, is that not something they used to do with aircraft?

There are a significant number of differences if we're considering a radar environment that make the verbal clearances in aviation so much safer than those that we're hearing about here.

Even if we consider procedural air traffic control I believe ATC has much greater safety margins.

Things that I can think of include
TCAS - At least they stand a chance if TCAS is working (No such system on the train)
Procedural controllers often have a radar feed to assist with situational awareness and would be able to see the conflict
An ATCO will only have one task and that is being an ATCO. In this case it appears the station manager (who presumably has many other tasks) is also responsible for the safety of the single line.
Pilots have the ability to build up situational awareness because everyone communicates on the same frequency, but in this case the station managers conversed on a closed line and simple told the drivers that they could proceed.
SLOP can be used on NAT tracks (I believe) but there's no missing each other on a railway line.

I'm still shocked that this method of signalling exists.

SW

Lonewolf_50
22nd Jul 2016, 13:43
:8:cool:There are a significant number of differences if we're considering a radar environment that make the verbal clearances in aviation so much safer than those that we're hearing about here.
John may have been referring to the ATC system that uses conveyer belts, which like train tracks constrain the aircraft to very narrow zones of operation. :} ;)