Al-Masry Al-Youm has obtained a copy of an official document issued by the National Railway Authority (NRA) on 25 October, one day after the Ayyat train crash, confirming that the NRA’s operations department had approved the departure of one of the two ill-fated trains even though its ATC speed-control system was out of order.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one driver explained that the electronic ATC system was designed to read incoming train signals and prevent drivers from reaching excessive speeds. In the event that there is a problem on the track, the system is supposed to automatically stop the train.
The document, which was signed by a manager responsible for the East Delta line, confirms that the NRA administration regularly instructs train drivers to depart — even when problems have been reported.
“To the attention of the driver of train no. 374: you are given permission to depart although the ATC system is not working,” the document reads. “You are absolved of responsibility should anything go wrong.”
A source at the NRA’s maintenance department said that a full half of the ATC systems currently in use by the authority were dysfunctional. “One time, a driver refused to depart because the ATC system wasn’t working,” he said. “So his supervisor deducted five days from his salary.”
Translated from the Arabic Edition.