Thursday 8 December 2016

Italy train crash probe investigating antiquated telephone alert system used to alert station masters

Published 13/07/2016 | 08:18

Rescuers work after a head-on collision between two trains, near Corato, in the southern Italian region of Puglia. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Rescuers work after a head-on collision between two trains, near Corato, in the southern Italian region of Puglia. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a head-on train crash in southern Italy in which 22 people were killed.

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They are focusing in particular on the antiquated telephone alert system used to advise station masters of trains running on the single track.

Recovery operations using a giant crane and rescue dogs continued throughout the night and into Wednesday to remove the mangled debris of the two commuter trains which slammed into one another in the neat olive groves between the towns of Andria and Corato in the Puglia region.

Union leaders and railway police blamed human error, noting that that particular stretch of track did not have an automatic alert system that would engage if two trains were close by on the same track.

Instead, news reports said the alert system relied on station masters phoning one another to advise of a departing train.

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