78 Killed, 180 Injured As Spain Train Derails At 118 MPH

By: | July 25th, 2013

The world is coming to grips with the horror of the third major train derailment in the past month, this one a dramatic train crash in Santiago de Compostela Spain that killed at least 78 people yesterday. The train, a high speed express, was traveling on the Madrid-Ferrol line from Madrid Chamartin station to Ferrol and rounding the “A Granderia” curve when four of the 10 carriages, including eight wagons and two tractor heads, derailed.

Crash Caught On Video

The seeming ubiquity of surveillance video cameras caught the approach and derailment before being knocked off-line by the crash. Reports are that the train was going twice as fast, 118 mph (190 km/h) as it should have been around a tight curve where the speed limit is 50 mph (80 km/h), implicating the driver and “human error” as the reason for the crash.

In the video the train can be seen speeding around the curve, cars immediately behind the engine skipping the track and crashing into a concrete retaining wall and the engine being pulled off the track from behind. Photos of the crash show trains strewn about the track, some laying on their side, others crumpled from impact.

Trains Relatively Safe But Not At Excessive Speeds

Train crashes are not that uncommon: there have been nearly 30 train crashes worldwide thus far in 2013 and at least two dozen train crashes a year over the past several years.

Spain has one of the world’s most extensive high-speed rail networks which is operated and run by state owned companies Adif and RENFE.

David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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