Sloppy maintenance caused deadly French rail crash

AP News
Posted: Jul 07, 2014 10:05 AM
Sloppy maintenance caused deadly French rail crash

PARIS (AP) — Sloppy maintenance of a notoriously dangerous stretch of railroad caused a train to jump the tracks in suburban Paris last year, killing seven people and injuring nearly 200, a French prosecutor said Monday.

The packed train, carrying around 385 passengers, derailed, skidded and slammed into a railroad station in Bretigny-sur-Orge on July 12, 2013. Prosecutor Eric Lallement said the stretch of railroad where the train jumped the tracks was a "known danger zone" that was not maintained properly.

National railway SNCF and RFF — the agency that handles the rail infrastructure — said that although they had accepted responsibility for the crash, there was no systematic maintenance failure, as alleged in a court-ordered report.

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Lallement said further investigation would determine how to divide blame for the ill-maintained stretch of rail, where some 100 maintenance problems were discovered after the crash.

"The high number of problems and the way they were evenly distributed ... bear witness to an unsuitable maintenance and not a deliberate action," he said.