July came to a close with yet another major rail accident, which occurred near the Swiss countryside town of Granges-près-Marnand. This crash involved the head-on collision of two trains traveling in opposite directions, which left almost 35 passengers requiring medical treatment. The 24-year-old driver of the southbound train paid the ultimate price, losing his life in the crash. Unsure whether he might still have been alive, rescue workers sawed through the mangled wreckage only to discover he had succumbed to his injuries from the collision.
Preliminary investigations point to what Europeans term signal-jumping as the possible cause of the collision. Signal-jumping involves rushing to commence acceleration prior to being given the proper light-based sign indicating it is safe to proceed. Investigators see few other possible explanations for such a collision, noting that the southbound train traveled at a considerably slower speed of about 25 miles per hour. This slower speed is credited with the fact that the collision resulted in only one fatality. Investigators still have no clue as to why the southbound train didn’t wait for the faster northbound train to pass.
The Swiss crash marks the fourth major rail accident in July, joining a grizzly crash in Spain with close to 80 casualties and a freakish crude oil train crash in Canada that burned down large parts of a village, taking the lives of almost 50 townspeople. A week before the Spain crash, Paris witnessed a deadly train wreck claiming the lives of seven passengers. Investigators have yet to identify any unifying themes in these crashes, except for human error and in certain circumstances poor judgment.
A number of improvements are already being suggested to prevent future accidents. These include:
Train accidents are traumatizing for any person involved and the injuries and stress can last a lifetime. Affected parties should seek legal counsel at their earliest convenience to begin the recovery process as soon as possible.