ATHENS – Only 30 km of the whole rail network in Greece has functioning train traffic lights. The installation of new European Train Control System has derailed in the country because of mismanagement – costing tens of millions of public funds and several fatalities.
“Warning No Signal”.
This is the phrase one could imagine seeing on a sign for the Greek railways’ signage and telecommunications system – a project which has been in the process of implementation for ten years already, but is not in place yet. It has cost millions of euros, and has done nothing to improve the conditions which leave trains in Greece prone to deadly accidents: 137 deaths and 97 serious injuries have been recorded between 2010 and 2018.
Analyzing all the available data and statistics about railway accidents in the EU, it turns out that Greece tops the chart for the number of deaths (relative to kilometres covered in 2018), and comes second in terms of serious injuries. Among the main categories of accidents are train derailments and pedestrians being hit by moving trains, with inadequate signage and inadequate rail traffic management being arguably the main cause.
The Greek Regulatory Authority for Railways (RAS) came to the same conclusion in its 2017 Special Report on “System Recording and Tracking of Incidents on the National Rail Network”, which notes that serious railway accidents such as the 2017 accident in Adendro near Thessaloniki, which left 3 dead and 6 injured, “most likely would have been avoided if the telecommunication and signaling system had functioned”. This is a reference to the Automatic Train Protection System, which is connected to the new European Train Control System (ETCS). Greece had installed that system many years ago within the framework of the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS).
Read the full report at miir.gr