What were the findings of the French investigation into the 2013 derailment at Brétigny-sur-Orge? In September, the French Land Transport Accident Investigation Bureau published their report and we have produced a summary in English.
On 12 July 2013, at 1711hrs, a passenger train travelling at about 85mph derailed on pointwork at the northern end of Brétigny-sur-Orge station in the southern suburbs of Paris, France. Seven people – three on-board and four on Platform 3 of the station – were killed, 32 were also injured, 11 of them seriously.
The report by the French Land Transport Accident Investigation Bureau was published in September, and found that a joint on the points (fishplate) had failed, issues having gone undetected, exacerbated a range of managerial, organisational and human factors issues.
In Britain, fishplates are reportedly used at around 20 sites on 100mph lines to secure track to switches and crossovers. They are effective if well maintained and allow the rail to expand and contract under prevalent temperature conditions.
Fishplate breaks increased by 30% between 2008 and 2011. Though the trend reversed in 2012-13, Network Rail took a proactive step and reviewed bolted crossing risk, briefing its inspection teams to highlight the issues that came out of the Paris accident.
You can read a summary of the French Land Transport Accident Investigation Bureau report (in English) on our website.