Sunday, April 18, 2010

Post 237. Australian Railways pay attention!

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 Australian Railways   and   
tourists   using   Italian  Railways   pay  attention!

The Ferrovie italiane {Italian Railways} have performed miracles. The 2009 accounts bear witness to that. In 4 years, the “rationalization of operating costs” have brought about a reduction of 1.1 billion euro. The net profits have grown by 175% and have arrived at 44 million euro. The people of Viareggio who died, would be happy if they knew that. The blog is publishing the denunciation made by a former technical verifier that should be taken into account by the relevant magistrates. Up until now, as far as I know, no one has been charged with the Viareggio disaster.

”I am a former worker and technical verifier of the railways. This witness statement is in support of the victims and the families of the
Viareggio disaster that took place on 29.06.09. The goods wagon that caused the disaster, was derailed on 22.06.09 at Vaiano on the Florence-Bologna route. If that wagon had been checked on the spot or sent to the nearest “squadra rialzo” (workshop) by means of ultrasound laser, (a technology that was already in existence 40 years ago), they would have discovered that the axle had been damaged and it would have been substituted, involving 30 minutes’ work.
This was the procedure 40 years ago, today technology has taken giant steps forward, with high speed trains (Rome-Milan) in 3 hours. That is right for modern needs, even the reduction of the work force can be accepted, however not at the expense of railway safety; in fact the goods sector has almost been forgotten: obsolete wagons that are more than 40, 50 or 60 years old, not undergoing preventative checks, moreover, there are tanker wagons transporting really dangerous liquids that can explode. 32 people died at Viareggio, dozens of people with 60%, 70%, 80% and 95% burns all over their bodies. I started with the railways on 15.06.1970 as a skilled worker in the locomotive depot at Leghorn. Even at that time, an engineer from Florence came to check the axles. Every 1-2 years these planned checks were carried out, or if the locomotive or the wagon had been subject to even a tiny derailment, perhaps in the goods yard. Then I became a verifier, and if anything like that happened, I stopped the wagon and if there was no danger, I sent it to the nearest “squadra rialzo” (FS workshop) for a general check. My task was to check the trains that were arriving and above all those that were departing and to check the brakes, then I issued a document called a TV40 that I got the engine driver to sign in duplicate, one for me and one for him, then the station master gave the “permission to go”.
In the station, there was a station operations team, today called “formatore”, that together with the manoeuvres team, made up the train in accordance with the weight, length and destination, etc.; then the controller made a note of all the wagon identification numbers that are written on the sides of the wagons and in other places, then he issued an M18 document in duplicate that he got the engine driver or the train operator to sign. One copy stayed in the files of the departure station and one for the arrival station or the marshalling yard. Thus even if the wagon catches fire there’s a paper document or a computer document of the number of the wagons. When a train derails, at times, it takes kilometres before the train stops, thus especially if the wagon is loaded it is very very stressed and the axles are the first ones to suffer because the wheels hit on the cement sleepers. Some witnesses saw the train of the disaster giving out sparks at a distance of about 20 Km from Viareggio. Doubtless the wagon was braking and the overheating for so many kilometres, by induction acted in such a way that the axle which had already deteriorated from the torsion then broke (you can see this clearly in the photo). The almost certainty that the wagon of the disaster is the same one that was derailed in Vaiano and that in Viareggio it was the first one at the head of the train, while at Vaiano it was the last one at the tail. These types of trains have blocked composition. When they arrive at the arrival station they go to the unloading or loading point, then the locomotive goes to the depot and when it next departs, the head becomes the tail and vice versa.
I have personally many times seen wagons with braking in operation that were stopped in the station after the one where the anomaly was noted; today, unfortunately, the stations are deserted because of the reduction of staffing levels. It would have been enough to place heat detectors or video cameras connected to the ‘Dco’ {Central Operations Manager} and the train would have been stopped in time thus averting the disaster. I am making this denunciation now because just 15 days ago, photos of the derailed wagon at Vaiano came into my possession.” Menchini Marco
Posted by Beppe Grillo at 09:00 PM in


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