Wednesday 1 March 2023

Greece Train Crash: at least 43 people killed

CTV News on Youtube shows that a head-on collision between a passenger train and a freight train flattened carriages, killed at least 36 people and injured some 85, Greek officials said Wednesday, with the death toll expected to rise.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, but the stationmaster in the nearby city of Larissa was arrested Wednesday. The police did not release his name. 

Another two people have been detained for questioning. Paul Workman has the latest update. 

Read more about this news here:

Death toll keeps rising in Greece's deadliest train crash

TEMPE, GREECE - Rescuers searched for survivors Wednesday in the mangled, burned-out wreckage of two trains that slammed into each other in northern Greece, killing at least 43 people and crumpling carriages into twisted steel knots in the country's worst-ever rail crash.

The impact just before midnight Tuesday threw some passengers into ceilings and out the windows.

"My head hit the roof of the carriage with the jolt," Stefanos Gogakos, who was in a rear car, told state broadcaster ERT. He said windows shattered, showering riders with glass.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the collision of the passenger train and a freight train "a horrific rail accident without precedent in our country," and pledged a full, independent investigation.

He said it appears the crash was "mainly due to a tragic human error."

The train from Athens to Thessaloniki was carrying 350 passengers, many of them students returning from raucous Carnival celebrations. While the track is double, both trains were travelling in opposite directions on the same line near the Vale of Tempe, a river valley about 380 kilometers north of Athens.


Authorities arrested the stationmaster at the train's last stop, in the city of Larissa. They did not release the man's name or the reason for the arrest, but the stationmaster is responsible for rail traffic on that stretch of the tracks.

Transportation Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned, saying he was stepping down "as a basic indication of respect for the memory of the people who died so unfairly."

Karamanlis said he had made "every effort" to improve a railway system that had been "in a state that doesn't befit the 21st century."

But, he added, "When something this tragic happens it's impossible to continue as if nothing has happened."

1 comment:

  1. What went wrong? More explanations here:

    Authorities are still investigating the circumstances that led to the crash.

    Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said it happened “mainly due to a tragic human error” but did not elaborate.

    Police have arrested the Larissa station master, who is responsible for rail traffic on that stretch of the tracks. He was due to appear before a prosecutor on Thursday to be formally charged.

    Investigators were trying to determine why both trains were on the same track “for many kilometres”.

    Yiannis Ditsas, head of the railway workers union, told Skai TV that automatic signalling at the crash site had not been working.

    Industry experts say systems that signal whether a track is already occupied by setting off a red light or that automatically operate a switch to divert a train onto another track are not properly maintained.
    “Red lights malfunction very often or they turn on for no reason, and the culture in the Greek rail system is that drivers and station masters have learned to ignore them,” said Al Jazeera’s John Psaropoulos, reporting from Larissa.

    “The last conversation recorded between the station master and the passenger train driver suggests exactly such an incident of simply ignoring the signalling. The station master says, ‘you are good to go, you are good to go,’; the train driver wasn’t sure if the signalling was correct for him to leave,” he added.

    Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned, saying he was taking responsibility for the state’s longstanding failures to fix a railway system that, he said, “was not fit for the 21st century”.

    Nikos Tsouridis, a retired train driver trainer, said drivers involved in the crash had died “because there were no safety measures”. “And why were there no safety measures? The station master made a mistake, he acknowledged it. But surely there should be a safety mechanism to fall back on,” he said.

    Train unionists say the safety shortcomings of the Athens-Thessaloniki railway line, the main one in the country, had been known for years.

    Greece sold railway operator TRAINOSE under its international bailout programme in 2017 to Italy’s Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, expecting hundreds of millions of euros to be invested in rail infrastructure in the coming years.