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Bretigny-sur-Orge train crash

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On July 12, 2013, a train crashed in the commune of Bretigny-sur-Orge (in a suburb of Paris, France). A passenger train carrying 385 people derailed and hit the station platform killing seven people and injuring nearly 200 people.

The accident was cited as the most serious rail crash in France since the 1988 Gare de Lyon accident in which 56 people were killed.

Around 5 p.m. local time, the SNCF Corail Intercités train 3657 was driving from Paris Gare d’Austerlitz to Limoges derailed. 385 passengers were on board but victims also include people who were on the platform. The accident occured a few minutes after the train departed Austerlitz at 4:53 p.m. It was scheduled to arrive at Limoges-Bénédictins at 8:05 p.m. The trains and platforms at Brétigny were particularly busy as it was the Friday before the Bastille Day holiday weekend.

Reports indicate the train, which was not scheduled to stop, crashed at 137 kilometres per hour (85 mph) (under the limit speed of 150 km/h) and split in two between the fourth and fifth carriages after they derailed on a double slip.The rear of the train was deviated to the left from the track 1 to the track 3 by the following railroad switch. The sixth carriage moved crosswise between the two tracks and swept the intermediate platform being pierced by a beam of the shelter. The fifth carriage first collided the platform on its left then laid down along the opposite platform.

At a press conference the day after the accident, a director of SNCF explained that the failure of a fishplate (rail joint) was the cause of the accident, confirmed in the third press SNCF conference by supporting photographs. According to Guillaume Pepy, the SNCF president, the fishplate broke away from the rails and became lodged in the middle of the switch, causing the derailment.

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