Railway officials interrogated over Ayyat catastrophe

A technical commission formed by the Ministry of Transport resumed its investigation of 34 railway officials in order to determine responsibility for the recent train crash in el-Ayyat. The head of the commission, Mohamed Abdel Fattah stressed that the goal of the investigation is not to indict officials, but rather to discover what mistakes were made by the railway department. The final report from the investigation will be submitted to the new Minister of Transport.

Investigators recently examined the automatic train control (ATC) system from locomotive number 2422, which was attached to train number 188 and involved in the crash. The engineer demonstrated that the ATC did not shut down completely, but had been modified to only respond to specific warning signals. The ATC did not show any sign of receiving these warning signals.

Investigators conducted field tests at the site of the accident using the same type of locomotive involved in the crash. In the test, the replacement locomotive was operated at 104 km per hour, the same speed as the train involved in the crash. After the ATC received the warning, the train came to a halt after 700 meters. To mimic the original crash, the commission will adjust the ATC to mirror the settings of the train involved in the crash. If the ATC does not respond to the warning signals, it will prove that the train involved in the original crash did not receive the warning.

Test conducted by Mustafa Qenawi of the Egyptian National Railroad concluded that the conductor involved in the crash activated the emergency break 300 meters before it hit the second train, which was stopped on the tracks. His actions slowed the train to 65 km. per hour and reduced the overall number of casualties.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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