Tragic Train Derailment Raises Safety Concerns about High Speed Rail Systems


December 02, 2013

While almost 5,000 miles separates the U.S. from Spain, our Atlanta train derailment attorneys at Montlick and Associates grieve for the victims of this catastrophic train accident and send our deepest condolences to the families of the victims. The train derailment crash that occurred this week may be one of the worst European train disasters in in history according to a Reuters report. The horrific high speed rail crash caused at least eight fatalities and injury to at least 94 more passengers according to the article.

Based on footage released by media sources, the high speed train hurtled into a concrete wall when it jumped the track causing passenger cars to jack-knife and the engine to rollover. The impact of the train collision was so massive that the engine apparently flew several meters into the air and landed on the opposite side of the cement wall. While the train accident is still under investigation, an engineer on the train has been ordered to be taken into custody according to the Reuters report. The article also indicates that the fatal train derailment may have been the result of excessive speed. The train reportedly was traveling at 120 mph though the speed limit for the curve where the derailment occurred was less than 50 mph.

Although the U.S. is separated from Spain by a great distance, there are important lessons that railroad companies as well as state and federal railroad regulators may be able to glean from this terrible tragedy. Authorities investigating the fatal train crash are trying to discover why the train took the curve at such a high rate of speed, as well as why safety equipment that is designed to prevent exceeding the speed limit did not slow the train. While the investigation into the cause of the train derailment is ongoing, a disturbing report ran in many newspapers following the crash according to Reuters. The newspapers published excerpts alleged taken from the train conductor's Facebook page where he purported bragged about operating trains at high rates of speed. However, the Reuter report also indicates that the conductor's page was taken down from Facebook and that it was not able to confirmation the news reports.

The timing of this tragedy is ironic given that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) just voted last month to implement safety and crashworthiness standards for the development of high speed rail trains in the U.S. The crashworthiness performance standards are intended to facilitate "new jobs and manufacturing opportunities to make high-speed rail equipment for use here at home and abroad," according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. In light of this recent tragedy, we can only hope that public safety is high on the list of objectives when developing plans to create high speed rail lines like those overseas.

This terrible tragedy serves as a reminder that train derailment accidents may be unusual but they can claim a massive toll in terms of human life and severe injuries. If you or someone close to you is injured in a railroad accident, an experienced Georgia train accident attorney at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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