There is no link between the European Railway Authority train crash and market liberalization: The largest train crash in Europe since 1998 occurred in Spain. Railway safety officials are of the opinion that there is no link between these accidents and the EU's efforts to open railways to competition and to separate infrastructure and passenger / cargo services.
At least 78 people died and over 150 were injured in an accident Wednesday near the city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The accident was the most casualty since 1998, when a train derailed in the German village of Eschede, killing 101 passengers and staff.
Twelve days before the accident in Spain, a train derailed in the south of Paris, six people died and dozens were injured.
Authorities are investigating the accident in Spain; however, preliminary findings indicate that the high-speed train is traveling well above the 80km limit on its way to Santiago de Compostela.
A passenger said he heard an explosion before the train derailed. However, the police said they were 'drifting away' from a sabotage or assault thesis.
In France, the derailment of the intercity SNCF train is attributed to a fault in the switch.
In May, when an NMBS Logistics train carrying toxic chemicals derailed near Schellebelle, Belgium, two people died, a fire that lasted for hours broke out and hundreds of people in the area were evacuated.
Security at risk by unions
Transport unions say that the EU's efforts to open national and international railway and infrastructure systems to competition for 12 years put workers and passengers at risk.
The European Transport Workers' Federation (2.5), a million-member, said in a statement adopted in May that the European Commission-led liberalization efforts had led to compromise on security due to pressure on maintenance, training and cost reduction on staff.
Sabine Trier, the federation's deputy secretary general, told EurActiv that it is too early to comment on accidents in France and Spain, as investigations have not yet been completed. However, Trier said, 'Our concerns are proven. One of the results of the liberalization is a saving in maintenance costs ”.
A European Railroad Authority (ERA) official, assessing the run-off cases, said there was no link between the efforts to divide established railway companies and security risks in general.
Chris Carr, who is in charge of ERA's security unit, told EurActiv, 'The timing has been unfortunate, but we don't think it's a general trend and we haven't seen any evidence of this in the data so far. We do not see a link between the opening of the market and the deterioration of security. For this reason, we do not consider it as a risk, 'he said.
In a report published by the ERA in May, there are fewer casualties in countries where 'it is impossible to correlate liberalization and accidents', but that open up cargo and passenger transport markets faster than countries that are slower to liberalize under the EU's rail packages. was taking.
Both France and Spain are slow to open the market to competition. However, the number of casualties in these two countries is in line with those countries that are trying to put an end to state dominance in railways such as Austria, Sweden, Denmark and England.
Kallas wants liberalization
Siim Kallas, member of the European Commission responsible for transport, criticizes member states for slowing to open railways to competition and to separate train and infrastructure activities.
The Fourth Rail Package, presented by Kallas in January, also gives ERA control over national railway safety agencies. ERA can only audit on a voluntary basis at this time.
The EU's safety regulation, which was adopted in 2004 and updated in 2008, requires member countries to certify and monitor all railway activities for both infrastructure management and security on the basis of train operator companies.
According to the ERA, most of them are fatal train accidents, people on the railroad or suicide. ERA data show that passenger deaths, which started to decline in the 1980s, were rare. Ten people died in 2011, and less than 10 accidents were reported. In 20, there were about 1980 accidents and 250 deaths were recorded.