The train collision accident in Upper Egypt- Youm7/Mahmoud Maqboul
CAIRO – 11 April 2021: Egypt’s Public Prosecution revealed that drivers and co-drivers of the two trains that collided on March 26, 2021, in Sohag (Upper Egypt) and resulted in the death of 20 people and the injury of 199 others are responsible for the accident.
The investigations showed that the two trains’ drivers, assistants, and signaling tower employees are involved in the accident, which resulted in financial casualties estimated at more than LE 25.8 million
As per the investigations, a first-class train that was bound from Luxor to Alexandria stopped twice: one before a train level crossing at Sonossey village and the second stop at the site, where it was collided by a Spanish train that was bound from Aswan to Cairo.
The driver and his assistant on the first-class train claimed that the signals in the train’s cab showed that the train stopped automatically due to using an emergency valve or due to the closure of the brake system valve between the third and the fourth railcars. However, after listening to some passengers and other workers on the train, it was revealed that the driver and his assistant were lying.
In addition to this, the driver of the first-class train said that he had to stop the automatic train control (ATC) to delay the arrival of the train to the other stations. Also, it has been revealed that the assistant of this train is a tramadol drug addict.
As for the investigation regarding the second train (the Spanish one), it has been shown that there are conflicting reports given by the driver and his assistant. Firstly, the assistant said that he was driving the train by himself when the accident occurred, adding that the speed of the train was 90km/h and then he saw the first-class train away from a distance of 500 meters and could not stop the train by the manual brakes before the crash. The assistance also claimed that the traffic signal at the intersections was in green. The second story given by the driver claimed that he- not the assistant- was driving the train by himself with a speed of 90 km/h and he was at a distance of 100 meters away from the accident site.
Both the driver and the assistant confessed that they stopped the ATC device in the train, claiming that the Railway Authority gave an order, not to use the ATC devices.
After the investigative team moved to the train signaling towers between Maragha Villages and Tahtah, it turned out that the traffic signal at 1.3 kilometers away from the crash site was in yellow, which means the necessity of slowing down the speed. They also found that the signal was in red in an area near the site of the accident, which means that the Spanish train should stop its movement. Such findings deny the claims given by the Spanish train’s driver assistant regarding traffic signals.
Also, At the point of the red signal, which locates 500 meters away from the accident, the investigative team drove the train 13 times with a speed of 90 km/h and used manual brake systems to see if this distance was enough to allow the driver of the Spanish train stop before the crash or not. The investigations showed that the distance was enough to slow down and stop the train each time.
Via using surveillance cameras, the investigations revealed that the co-driver of the Spanish train forged the signature of the driver to take the leadership of the train instead of the driver. In addition to this, the investigation revealed that the driver and his assistant at the Spanish train were not at the driver’s cap when the accident occurred.
The investigations also showed that the head of the central control unit in Assuit was not at his office when the accident occurred, although this unit is responsible for monitoring the train movement in this site.
Also, one of two employees at the control unit confessed that he was late in letting the driver of the Spanish train know about the breaking down of the firs-class train, adding that when he managed to reach the Spanish train’s driver, he gave him a wrong number for the first-class train. Meanwhile, the second employee at the control unit did not try to inform the driver as well.
Furthermore, it has been proved that an employee at Al-Maragha signaling tower was a hashish addict.