Trains.com

Greek train crash in Larissa

5625 views
39 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,500 posts
Greek train crash in Larissa
Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 10:44 AM

I'd been ignoring this as a "yeah, bad things happen to people far away" kind of a topic, when I saw that the stationmaster was arrested for negligent homicide.

What?

What did a stationmaster have to do with rail operation, I asked.  I supposed he could have been a station agent with all the train order stuff.

Further reading:

 

"The two trains had been running towards each other on the same track 'for many kilometres' before the crash, government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said."

"Yiannis Ditsas, head of the Greek railway workers union, told Skai television that automatic signalling at the spot of the crash had not been working."

 

Uh.  This is 2023.  Those were fast mainline trains.  ABS signaling?  What, the bulbs burned out so we go as fast as we want?  Was someone's 5 year old brother running this train?

 

I do wonder what a stationmaster was supposed to do, such that this event didn't happen.  Maybe stand on the tracks and wave his arms overhead.

 

Ed

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 10:47 AM

Major failures on many levels of their system of train control.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Potomac Yard
  • 2,761 posts
Posted by NittanyLion on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 11:30 AM

7j43k
What, the bulbs burned out so we go as fast as we want?

Not to play on stereotypes, but there's a definite north to south gradient in Europe that goes from "Follow the Book, even if the Book is wrong" to "eh, we'll be fine."

  • Member since
    July 2016
  • 2,550 posts
Posted by Backshop on Thursday, March 2, 2023 7:37 AM

I'm on an international forum and there was a lot of outcry from Europeans about the East Palestine wreck with lots of "we're better than that, it wouldn't happen here in modern Europe" type comments.  They've been really quiet the last couple of days.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, March 2, 2023 1:11 PM

Does anyone factually know the method of operations on the line that this collision happened?

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 6,827 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Thursday, March 2, 2023 1:40 PM

BaltACD

Does anyone factually know the method of operations on the line that this collision happened?

 

I wonder if they were using a Communications Based Train Control system.  It's been espoused by some in Railway Age, mainly those trying to sell CBTC systems, that it's the way to go for PTC/train control systems. 

One of it's greatest features, according to it's supporters, is that you don't need track circuits for it to function.  It can be overlaid on nonsignaled trackage or once in place, existing track circuits could be discontinued.  

After all, the only people who want wayside signals and track circuits is the signal department, so say the CBTC supporters.

If such a system was to lose track of who is where, would it just give clear signals?  

Jeff

  • Member since
    December 2006
  • 1,724 posts
Posted by diningcar on Thursday, March 2, 2023 2:06 PM

It is reported that a stationmaster has been arrested. This suggests that switches were not in the correct position. 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, March 2, 2023 2:49 PM

diningcar
It is reported that a stationmaster has been arrested. This suggests that switches were not in the correct position. 

Stationmaster is low hanging fruit and does not explain the Method of Operation on the track segment.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,862 posts
Posted by tree68 on Thursday, March 2, 2023 2:59 PM

diningcar

It is reported that a stationmaster has been arrested. This suggests that switches were not in the correct position. 

That would seem to suggest that the stationmaster also functions as what we'd refer to as a tower operator at that location.

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    February 2018
  • 282 posts
Posted by adkrr64 on Thursday, March 2, 2023 3:36 PM

tree68

 diningcar

It is reported that a stationmaster has been arrested. This suggests that switches were not in the correct position. 

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,500 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Thursday, March 2, 2023 5:14 PM

Any rail system that depends on everyone "remembering" to do the thing they're supposed to do is pathetic, and worse.

It's been said that these were signaled track, but the signals weren't working.

That said, the main fault lies with one or both engineers, who exceeded reasonable track speeds for non-signaled trackage (uh, obviously, now), and consequently killed several dozen people.  A question is WHY did they choose to do so?

It appears their union knew about the signals not working.  They would also have been aware of these violations, and apparently condoned them.  If they didn't condone them, then the workers should have walked off, as directed by their union.

A close second is whoever designed and implimented about the most half-assed solution to a lack of working signals ever.  The guy forgot to throw the switch.  Obviously missing is anyone asking him if he really HAD thrown the switch.  And that's just the beginning.

All I'm hearing from every element of this mess is "we don't have enough money" and "it was someone else's fault".

My opinion of Greece just keeps lowering the more I learn about it.

 

 

Ed

  • Member since
    November 2014
  • 245 posts
Posted by ORNHOO on Thursday, March 2, 2023 5:31 PM

tree68
diningcar It is reported that a stationmaster has been arrested. This suggests that switches were not in the correct position. That would seem to suggest that the stationmaster also functions as what we'd refer to as a tower operator at that location.

As seen in this cab ride: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJRGaokaFE4

the stations have "exit signals" at the ends of the platforms. I do not know if they are under the control of the individual stationmasters.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, March 2, 2023 5:57 PM

7j43k
Any rail system that depends on everyone "remembering" to do the thing they're supposed to do is pathetic, and worse.

It's been said that these were signaled track, but the signals weren't working.

That said, the main fault lies with one or both engineers, who exceeded reasonable track speeds for non-signaled trackage (uh, obviously, now), and consequently killed several dozen people.  A question is WHY did they choose to do so?

It appears their union knew about the signals not working.  They would also have been aware of these violations, and apparently condoned them.  If they didn't condone them, then the workers should have walked off, as directed by their union.

A close second is whoever designed and implimented about the most half-assed solution to a lack of working signals ever.  The guy forgot to throw the switch.  Obviously missing is anyone asking him if he really HAD thrown the switch.  And that's just the beginning.

All I'm hearing from every element of this mess is "we don't have enough money" and "it was someone else's fault".

My opinion of Greece just keeps lowering the more I learn about it. 

Ed

When you have NO IDEA of what the Operating Rules were that applied to each of the involved parties you have NO BASIS to make any accusatory statements.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, March 2, 2023 6:10 PM

ORNHOO
 
tree68
diningcar It is reported that a stationmaster has been arrested. This suggests that switches were not in the correct position. That would seem to suggest that the stationmaster also functions as what we'd refer to as a tower operator at that location. 

As seen in this cab ride: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJRGaokaFE4

the stations have "exit signals" at the ends of the platforms. I do not know if they are under the control of the individual stationmasters.

Without having an understanding of the Operating and Signal Rules in effect as well as a understanding of the Greek language - we have NO REAL IDEA of what we are seeing and what is supposed to be happening.

Passing 3 sets of signals, that to my sight, only displayed RED indications leaves ME with serious questions about the Signal Rule.

The vegitation in the center ditch and within the cateary pole line is unique.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,500 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Thursday, March 2, 2023 7:34 PM

BaltACD

 

 
7j43k
Any rail system that depends on everyone "remembering" to do the thing they're supposed to do is pathetic, and worse.

It's been said that these were signaled track, but the signals weren't working.

That said, the main fault lies with one or both engineers, who exceeded reasonable track speeds for non-signaled trackage (uh, obviously, now), and consequently killed several dozen people.  A question is WHY did they choose to do so?

It appears their union knew about the signals not working.  They would also have been aware of these violations, and apparently condoned them.  If they didn't condone them, then the workers should have walked off, as directed by their union.

A close second is whoever designed and implimented about the most half-assed solution to a lack of working signals ever.  The guy forgot to throw the switch.  Obviously missing is anyone asking him if he really HAD thrown the switch.  And that's just the beginning.

All I'm hearing from every element of this mess is "we don't have enough money" and "it was someone else's fault".

My opinion of Greece just keeps lowering the more I learn about it. 

Ed

 

When you have NO IDEA of what the Operating Rules were that applied to each of the involved parties you have NO BASIS to make any accusatory statements.

 

 

Either safe operating rules were violated, or operating rules were not designed to be safe.

So it seems to me.

 

 

  • Member since
    December 2006
  • 1,724 posts
Posted by diningcar on Friday, March 3, 2023 9:35 AM

From Wall Street Journal today: "Some controls performed at station of Larissa resulted in two trains moving on the same track in opposite direction."

This supports the earlier report that an employee had been arrested. Apparently, to me, the Greek rail system has very little in safety supervision. 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Friday, March 3, 2023 9:42 AM

diningcar
From Wall Street Journal today: "Some controls performed at station of Larissa resulted in two trains moving on the same track in opposite direction."

This supports the earlier report that an employee had been arrested. Apparently, to me, the Greek rail system has very little in safety supervision. 

As of yet - no one has identified what the method of train control was being used on the track segment involved in the incident.

Without knowing the method of train control being used, it is not possible to accurately assess blame.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,500 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Friday, March 3, 2023 9:53 AM

diningcar

From Wall Street Journal today: "Some controls performed at station of Larissa resulted in two trains moving on the same track in opposite direction."

This supports the earlier report that an employee had been arrested. Apparently, to me, the Greek rail system has very little in safety supervision. 

 

 

Interesting quote.  From what I've been reading, it's the "controls" that WEREN'T performed that is the problem.  

The poor guy said he forgot.

 

Ed

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,500 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Friday, March 3, 2023 10:01 AM

BaltACD

 

 
diningcar
From Wall Street Journal today: "Some controls performed at station of Larissa resulted in two trains moving on the same track in opposite direction."

This supports the earlier report that an employee had been arrested. Apparently, to me, the Greek rail system has very little in safety supervision. 

 

As of yet - no one has identified what the method of train control was being used on the track segment involved in the incident.

Very good point.  One would think reporters would be asking about that, and revealing the answer.

For some reason they haven't, or perhaps they did not receive an answer.  Or did not feel it newsworthy.

Without knowing the method of train control being used, it is not possible to accurately assess blame.

 

 

Apparently the police have that information, as they made an arrest.  Further arrests should be expected momentarily.  I wonder who it will be.  Perhaps a "safety supervisor", as diningcar seems to be hinting at.

 

 

Ed

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Friday, March 3, 2023 10:59 AM

7j43k
 
BaltACD 
diningcar
From Wall Street Journal today: "Some controls performed at station of Larissa resulted in two trains moving on the same track in opposite direction."

This supports the earlier report that an employee had been arrested. Apparently, to me, the Greek rail system has very little in safety supervision.  

As of yet - no one has identified what the method of train control was being used on the track segment involved in the incident. 

Very good point.  One would think reporters would be asking about that, and revealing the answer.

For some reason they haven't, or perhaps they did not receive an answer.  Or did not feel it newsworthy. 

Without knowing the method of train control being used, it is not possible to accurately assess blame. 

Apparently the police have that information, as they made an arrest.  Further arrests should be expected momentarily.  I wonder who it will be.  Perhaps a "safety supervisor", as diningcar seems to be hinting at. 

Ed

Personally - I think the Greek Police would probably arrest 'a ham sandwich' to be able to say the 'solved' the case.  

It is very easy to make a scapegoat of someone so far down on the Org Chart that they barely have a employed ID number.  The REAL responsible party is much higher up in the Org Chart, or maybe even a 'Activist Investor', as I understand there is private/public conflict taking place about the Greek rail system.

With us not being Greek, in another news cycle this incident will be off the 'Front Page' and will become lost in history.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,500 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Friday, March 3, 2023 11:51 AM

Pretty much, I think.

But I note that the Union leadership says they kept sending letters to someone pointing out the lack of safety.

But do not appear to have urged a worker work-slowdown or a strike to get action.

 

NOW they have a one-day strike.  Maybe they should have had a one-day strike earlier to get action on their multiple letters.

 

 

Ed

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • 1,177 posts
Posted by mvlandsw on Friday, March 3, 2023 3:40 PM

As of yet - no one has identified what the method of train control was being used on the track segment involved in the incident.

 

 

"Very good point.  One would think reporters would be asking about that, and revealing the answer.

For some reason they haven't, or perhaps they did not receive an answer.  Or did not feel it newsworthy."

Few reporters have enough knowledge of railroad operations to ask any meaningful questions.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 9,576 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, March 3, 2023 4:05 PM

7j43k
Interesting quote.  From what I've been reading, it's the "controls" that WEREN'T performed that is the problem.   The poor guy said he forgot.

If that's the case he wasn't the first.

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/sloatsburg/2018/10/03/rockland-train-crash-signalman-gave-green-light-death/1430659002/

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,500 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Friday, March 3, 2023 6:07 PM

Flintlock76

 

 
7j43k
Interesting quote.  From what I've been reading, it's the "controls" that WEREN'T performed that is the problem.   The poor guy said he forgot.

 

If that's the case he wasn't the first.

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/sloatsburg/2018/10/03/rockland-train-crash-signalman-gave-green-light-death/1430659002/

 

I read that.  I can't make sense out of it.  It looks like two trains were on one of a pair of double tracks.  Quite possibly, that track was ABS signaled in only one direction.  If so, then one train would have seen a yellow and a red signal as the other train approached.  THAT other train, going against traffic and signals, would have no signal information.

But, I believe, sending trains against the signal direction is taken VERY seriously.  So whoever decided to send the "blind" train down that track should have been VERY sure it was safe.

And.  Apparently that didn't happen.

 

Anyway, that's how I interpret the story. 

 

Ed

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Friday, March 3, 2023 7:30 PM

Flintlock76
 
7j43k
Interesting quote.  From what I've been reading, it's the "controls" that WEREN'T performed that is the problem.   The poor guy said he forgot.

If that's the case he wasn't the first.

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/sloatsburg/2018/10/03/rockland-train-crash-signalman-gave-green-light-death/1430659002/

RAILROAD:                      Erie

LOCATION:                      Sloatsburg, N. Y.

KIND OF ACCIDENT:         Head-end collision

TRAINS INVOLVED:          Passenger                                              Passenger

TRAIN NUMBERS:                   50                                                            53

LOCOMOTIVE NUMBERS:D-E unit 859                                          D-E unit 1402

CONSISTS:                           4 cars                                                      5 cars

SPEEDS:                             15-20 m.p.h.                                           20 m.p.h.

OPERATION:                Timetable, train orders, and automatic block-signal system

TRACK          Double; 1 degree 40' curve; 0.47 percent ascending grade westward

WEATHER:                   Partly cloudy

TIME:                          5:47 a.m.

CASUALTIES:                5 killed; 37 injured

CAUSE:                    Failure to deliver a right-of-track order

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,500 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Friday, March 3, 2023 10:06 PM

BaltACD

 

 
Flintlock76
 
7j43k
Interesting quote.  From what I've been reading, it's the "controls" that WEREN'T performed that is the problem.   The poor guy said he forgot.

If that's the case he wasn't the first.

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/sloatsburg/2018/10/03/rockland-train-crash-signalman-gave-green-light-death/1430659002/

 

RAILROAD:                      Erie

LOCATION:                      Sloatsburg, N. Y.

KIND OF ACCIDENT:         Head-end collision

TRAINS INVOLVED:          Passenger                                              Passenger

TRAIN NUMBERS:                   50                                                            53

LOCOMOTIVE NUMBERS:D-E unit 859                                          D-E unit 1402

CONSISTS:                           4 cars                                                      5 cars

SPEEDS:                             15-20 m.p.h.                                           20 m.p.h.

OPERATION:                Timetable, train orders, and automatic block-signal system

TRACK          Double; 1 degree 40' curve; 0.47 percent ascending grade westward

WEATHER:                   Partly cloudy

TIME:                          5:47 a.m.

CASUALTIES:                5 killed; 37 injured

CAUSE:                    Failure to deliver a right-of-track order

 

 

Thanks.

 

Who would have received that order, and what would they have done if they had received it?

 

Ed

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 6,827 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Friday, March 3, 2023 10:17 PM

BaltACD

 

 
ORNHOO
 
tree68
diningcar It is reported that a stationmaster has been arrested. This suggests that switches were not in the correct position. That would seem to suggest that the stationmaster also functions as what we'd refer to as a tower operator at that location. 

As seen in this cab ride: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJRGaokaFE4

the stations have "exit signals" at the ends of the platforms. I do not know if they are under the control of the individual stationmasters.

 

Without having an understanding of the Operating and Signal Rules in effect as well as a understanding of the Greek language - we have NO REAL IDEA of what we are seeing and what is supposed to be happening.

Passing 3 sets of signals, that to my sight, only displayed RED indications leaves ME with serious questions about the Signal Rule.

The vegitation in the center ditch and within the cateary pole line is unique.

 

Reading the comments, at least the ones in english, one points out that some signals are marked indicating they aren't working/out of service.  I would guess if they are marked that they aren't working, it's going to be a long term outage. 

Obviously they don't care if they turn or put a hood over the signal head.   

Jeff

  • Member since
    September 2017
  • 5,547 posts
Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, March 4, 2023 6:47 AM

This mornjng I read that the train driver was told to ignore the red signal by the Greek ewuivalent of a dispatcher. That was the cause of a fatal collision on a branch line in Bavaria a few years ago.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 9,576 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, March 4, 2023 8:06 AM

For those interested here's the official report of the Erie Rockland County NY wreck in 1958.

https://www.jonroma.net/media/rail/accident/usa/icc/3818.pdf

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,500 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, March 4, 2023 10:08 AM

Flintlock76

For those interested here's the official report of the Erie Rockland County NY wreck in 1958.

https://www.jonroma.net/media/rail/accident/usa/icc/3818.pdf

 

 

Thanks much for posting this!

I did a quick read.  Now I have to actually READ it.

 

Ed

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy