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Thu 2 Aug 2012 03:06 PM

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Probe blames driver for Saudi rail crash

Railways body says speeding caused June derailment that injured 35 people

Probe blames driver for Saudi rail crash
(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The derailment of a passenger train in Saudi Arabia that left 35 people injured was caused by driver negligence, rather than any technical fault, an investigation found.

A probe by the Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO) into the June 27 incident, which occurred on the Dammam-Riyadh service carrying 332 commuters, judged that the driver had failed to comply with the speed limit.

According to the report, the train was travelling at 119km round a detour approximately 70km east of the capital Riyadh where the limit was 30km.

The investigation also slammed the driver for allowing his assistant to drive the passenger service when he was not authorised to do so. Three carriages and the engine became derailed as a result.

The SRO says it has now sought the assistance of international experts to help run the railways' central control room, while those held responsible for the June accident will now face strict penalties.

Following the derailing, the Saudi Arabian ruler King Abdullah sacked the head of the SRO Eng Abdulaziz bin Mohammed
Al-Hokail.

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Gurpreet 8 years ago

This is a regular problem w ith Drivers in Rail Systems. That's why i quote a genral instructions at start of training that ' Being a Driver means 40% technical Knowledge ( 40% of Stock knowledge, given to a Maintenance Manager) and 60% discipline. We make processes, rules, limits, but these petty human errors costs a lot to orgs.

Gurpreet Singh
Trainer/Driver's Manager

Joy Varkey 8 years ago

This is a perfect cover up making the driver a scapegoat.

The section in question should be ETCS Level 1 signalling system. If the train has to take a detour ( negotiating a point), the colour light signal should have indicated to the driver that he is taking a turnout.
If the signal has indicated to the driver, the ETCS should have automatically applied the brake even if the driver forgot to apply the brake. Why the automatic braking did not take place?

Driver is not the person who decide who the Assistant Driver is. That is decided by the Train Operator. How can an assistant driver without passenger train driving competence is given to a driver who is driving the passenger service?

Why SRO needs international assistance now to man the Control Centre?

Only correct decision in the entire episode is that SRO Head has rolled. I sympathize with the driver.