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Tragedy in Buenos Aires – Several Casualties – Train Smashes Into Platform

A tragedy took place in the capital of Argentina today as a train slammed into a train station platform.  Faulty brakes seem to be the cause of the crash which has taken at least 49 lives and probably many, many, more.

The train was traveling at 16 miles per hour when it crashed into the platform. In addition to the causalities which are expected to rise, several hundreds were injured in the incident.

This is a sad and scary day for the Railroad industry.  And as the Obama Administration promotes advancements in High-Speed Rail in the US, accidents like this give us all pause – as Argentina is seeing mass devastation from a train crash which was traveling only 16 miles per hour.

We will post information later about ways in which donations can be made to help the victims of this awful incident.

      

{ 4 comments }

Andy February 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm

That is really terrible.

Sam Martland February 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I checked this out in the Argentine newspaper Clarin (the Bugle).

Pictures here: http://www.clarin.com/ciudades/atrapada-estacion-Once-Gustavo-Garello_5_650984897.html.

An electric multiple unit train on the Ferrocarril General Sarmiento, which runs west from a stub-end terminal in the Once neighborhood of Buenos Aires, crashed into the hydraulic bumpers at at least 20km/hr (16 mph); the RR unions say maybe more. The train was overcrowded and the doors were open; the news sites I saw didn’t say if they were the side doors or the doors between cars, but employees commented that open doors and overcrowding are dangerous and they’ve been warning about both for years.

The ends of the first and second cars appear to have buckled a lot; I’d guess from the pictures and descriptions that most of the dead were in or near the front vestibule of the second car and the rear vestibule of the first. The driver’s cab was bent in quite a bit and some of the dead may have been up there, too (possibly including the driver, although the paper doesn’t say.) Lots of people were trapped for hours and came out through windows because the way to the doors was blocked. There’s a good reason you’re not allowed to ride in vestibules. There’s also apparently a good reason that US laws require such sturdy cars that a lot of European equipment can’t be used here without great modification.

Employees also complained about years of low investment and poor maintenance.

Ryan N. February 28, 2012 at 11:57 am

I have to say that the fear-mongering in these articles bugs me a little bit. “And as the Obama Administration promotes advancements in High-Speed Rail in the US, accidents like this give us all pause – as Argentina is seeing mass devastation from a train crash which was traveling only 16 miles per hour.” They don’t give me one second of pause. Accidents happen, and while terrible, they almost always end up improving safety as changes are made to improve the system. Does an air crash give us all pause about whether we should continue with aviation? I’m not sure if passenger rail is /the/ safest way to travel, but it’s definitely up there.

Sam Martland March 4, 2012 at 8:00 pm

I agree.

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