Cette scène d’apocalypse
At least eleven people were killed when an Alstom TGV Duplex derailed and caught fire on Saturday 14 November during a non-passenger high-speed test run on phase two of LGV Est near Eckwersheim (Bas Rhin), about 20 km from Strasbourg. The line was scheduled to open in April 2016.
At the time of writing, the cause of the accident is unknown.
[‘Children were aboard doomed TGV test ride, French rail says‘, Laurent Geslin, AFP, 15 Nov]
Officially, 49 technicians and railwaymen were assigned to conduct a test run Saturday of the next-generation of the TGV, France’s flagship high-speed train, which was due to go into service next spring.
The accident near Strasbourg killed 11 and injured 37, of whom 12 remain in critical condition, according to local deputy prosecutor Alexandre Chevrier.
[…] Investigators were unable to say how many children were aboard. Asked about their assertion Saturday that five people were missing, Chevrier said they were still trying to piece together “how many passengers may have boarded and how.”
[…] A senior official in the Alsace region on Saturday blamed “excessive speed” for the disaster.
[Onze morts à Eckwersheim, premiers éléments d’enquête, L’Alsace, 15 Nov 2015]
Selon un premier scénario d’accident dévoilé ce dimanche soir par le parquet de Strasbourg, la motrice a «percuté» le pont [du canal de la Marne-au-Rhin] et «le train a ensuite déraillé avant de basculer sur le tallus de la ligne ferroviaire».
Un porte-parole de la SNCF a confirmé ce premier scénario, précisant que dans le choc de l’accident, le train s’était séparé en deux. «Le TGV a quitté la voie au niveau du pont et a percuté des rambardes de protection. Une partie des voitures est tombée dans le canal et l’autre dans un champ», a-t-il indiqué.
But at Eckwersheim, there was a complete break-up of the trainset. One might argue that in many circumstances, the “semi-rigid link between cars” of articulated bogies could result in reduced, rather than improved, safety. And with or without articulation, the quantum of kinetic energy in very high speed operation is bound to result in reduced accident survivability.
Britain’s HS2 trains would operate at higher speeds than those of LGV Est, so projectile debris from an accident would be even more energetic. HS2 is a deeply flawed vanity project, and there is no reason why GB trains need to operate at speeds greater than 250 km/h.