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Belgium Train crash 05/06/16

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Belgium Train crash 05/06/16

Unread postby scarpa » Fri Jun 10, 2016 6:21 am

On the 7 June at 2300 hrs. a catastrophic train crash occurred at Hermalle-sous- Huy near Liege, a passenger train travelling at a high speed crashed into the rear of a freight train consisting of aggregate wagons travelling at 15 m.p.h. .This resulted in fatalities including the passenger train driver. Previously there had been a thunderstorm resulting in possible damage to signalling equipment. The signal failure was rectified at 2130 hrs.
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Re: Belgium Train crash 05/06/16

Unread postby John Hinson » Fri Jun 10, 2016 6:42 am

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermalle- ... _collision this occurred on the 5th June and not the 7th - so I am changing the topic title as well as moving it from the Announcements section.

There is also some information on the signalling system in use although it is too early to conject as to the cause. That page also suggests the signal failure had been rectified before the accident so the accident may well have little relevance to this forum. Time will tell.

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Re: Belgium Train crash 05/06/16

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:16 am

There was also a head-on collision at the same location in 2008 in which signalling was raised as an issue, the driver claiming not to have received a double-yellow (equivalent of our single yellow) at the signal in rear. Inquiry report (in French) here :
http://mobilit.belgium.be/sites/default ... us-Huy.pdf
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Re: Belgium Train crash 05/06/16

Unread postby Danny252 » Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:18 am

A few news articles are stating that the "black box" data indicates that the previous signal the passenger train passed was "double yellow" (the aspect sequence being green - double yellow - red), and that the driver had acknowledged the warning from the "Crocodile" system[1] and had begun braking at the time of collision.

Article in French: http://www.lesoir.be/1233756/article/ec ... rs-du-choc
Dutch: http://www.standaard.be/cnt/dmf20160609_02330894

[1] From what I can find, Crocodile is the Belgian AWS equivalent, and this section of line not being equipped with TBL1+, the Belgian TPWS equivalent, although network-wide fitting of TBL1+ is ongoing.
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Re: Belgium Train crash 05/06/16

Unread postby Richard Lemon » Fri Jun 10, 2016 10:02 am

Danny is correct re the two yellows. These are diagonally arranged and are called in French (Wallonia) "Avertisseur" and in Dutch (Flanders) "Verwittigingssein". They are the equivalent of single yellow in the UK.

And, yes. the crocodile is the inducer for TBL - in cab signal repetition.
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Re: Belgium Train crash 05/06/16

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:07 am

Yes, a crocodile is an AWS ramp reflecting the three conditions the signals can show (positive voltage = green, negative = restrictive, no voltage = stop), illustrated and principles explained in Annexe 3 of the report I linked.

Green signal rings gong and lights blue lamp in cab. Restrictive aspect lights yellow lamp, and driver presses Vigilance button before the signal. When power is cut, the yellow lamp goes out and lights up again if power is reapplied. If the driver fails to confirm Vigilance, the yellow lamp starts flashing and after 4 seconds for Late Vigilance, the emergency brakes are applied automatically. Red signal/light extinguished does not trigger anything; the driver is expected to obey signals having confirmed his vigilance.
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Re: Belgium Train crash 05/06/16

Unread postby JRB » Fri Jun 10, 2016 12:30 pm

Not strictly a ramp. It does nothing mechanical to the train, just an electrical connection [as just described] as the train's wire brush runs over its wavy strips.
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Re: Belgium Train crash 05/06/16

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Fri Jun 10, 2016 12:44 pm

1) There was fog, probably thick but patchy, at the time of the accident. This stretch of line alongside the Meuse is notorious for fog and there had been significant thunderstorms earlier in the evening which would have produced perfect conditions for the formation of fog. The driver of the passenger train almost certainly didn't see the red signal and running into the back of a fully-laden stone train would have been akin to hitting a brick wall.

2) Although Infrabel (Belgian NR) are remaining tightlipped on the subject it would seem that at least some of the signals in this area are not yet fitted with TBL1+ despite claims that 98% of the (B) network (and around 75% of actual signals) have been so equipped already - despite the fact that the propensity to fog*, the mix of traffic (passenger + heavy stone trains) and the previous collision at the same spot less than 8 years ago should all have combined to make it high priority. If, in fact, the signals have been equipped with TBL1+ (press speculation in face of Infrabel's silence), then it clearly wasn't operational at the time of the accident, possibly knocked out by the earlier storms and not reset when the signalling was.

3) Unlike the UK, it is normal for accident investigations in Belgium to be made public as they proceed so Infrabel's silence isn't being well-received. If it does emerge that the fitment of TBL1+ to this line wasn't accorded the priority it should have had, there will be strong suspicions that it was pushed down the list because it was in French-speaking Wallonia and not in Dutch-speaking Flanders. It is notable that both the King and the Prime Minister felt the need to attend the first press conference!

* Fog in the Meuse gorges can cause such serious problems that further upstream at Namur the Beez Viaduct carrying the E411 autoroute is fitted with permanent "fog signalling" and special lighting.
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Re: Belgium Train crash 05/06/16

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Wed Jun 22, 2016 6:38 pm

I watched a brief clip on the francophone TV news last night during which an Infrabel spokesman definitely stated that the signal concerned was not equipped with TBL1+, apparently, if I understood him correctly, because it was an "automatic" signal. His French was a little flowery but I think that I did understand him but find it very difficult to understand why the fitment of TBL1+ at an automatic signal should be unnecessary, particularly since, as I have explained above, I would have expected this particular location to have a high priority.

The main topic of the news clip was the fact that relatives of the victims, lead by the father of the dead driver, are agitating for better progress to be made with the investigation, so the statement by the Infrabel spokesman was incidental to this.
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Re: Belgium Train crash 05/06/16

Unread postby John Hinson » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:01 pm

Until such time as a definite connection is established between signalling and the cause of the accident, this discussion is closed. It can be re-opened by request to any Moderator or myself if there is relevant information to add.

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