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Old February 12th, 2016, 07:59 PM   #2921
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Accident site at kilometer 30,3 at about 32m50s in this video:

The drivers didn't have any chance to react to an oncoming train.
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Old February 12th, 2016, 10:58 PM   #2922
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Quote:
So who is to blame? Negligence of staff? Or equipment failure?


A properly run investigation is not about finding "the blame". It is to establish the facts and identify the all the contributing factors involved in order to reccomend mitigation measures to prevent future occurences. Investigations which seek to apportion blame will never get the truth because people will become uncooperative, maybe modify their stories, point fingers or even hide evidence.
Of course if cases of criminal negligence or deliberate wrongdoing are found then sanctions may be applied.

From the European Railway Safety Directive/1
Quote:
Article 25.1 A safety recommendation issued by an investigating body shall in no case create a presumption of blame or liability for an accident or incident
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Old February 13th, 2016, 12:30 PM   #2923
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suasion View Post


A properly run investigation is not about finding "the blame". It is to establish the facts and identify the all the contributing factors involved in order to reccomend mitigation measures to prevent future occurences. Investigations which seek to apportion blame will never get the truth because people will become uncooperative, maybe modify their stories, point fingers or even hide evidence.
Of course if cases of criminal negligence or deliberate wrongdoing are found then sanctions may be applied.

From the European Railway Safety Directive/1
That's why there are usually multiple investigations: one run by police, the other by national transportation safety board/agency and probably some internal investigations.
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Old February 13th, 2016, 03:15 PM   #2924
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From DIRECTIVE 2004/49/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

Quote:
 Article 20.3 The investigation shall be accomplished independently of any judicial inquiry.
The meaning of this is by the European Railway Agency Safety Unit

Quote:
Quote:
Usually, the NIB has precedence for the investigation unless there is a clear indication that the accident was caused by terrorism, vandalism or similar activities. In any case the legal provisions or the agreements (“MOU”) should assist in the precedence being assigned to the party who might best serve the public interest.
Guidance for the establishment and work of the national investigation bodies

ERA/GUI/02-2012-EN
Which I would interpret as that unless there is clear evidence of a crime any police investigation looking to find blame cannot compromise the investigation to accurately identify all the contributing factors.

Other provisions in the AM Legal agreements or MOU's are those
Quote:
"which do neither authorise the judicial authorities to enforce any support by the NIB nor to seize material collected by the NIB.
 which do not allow any pressure on the conduction of the NIB’s safety investigation or its investigators.
 which ensure that the NIB’s reports can be written completely independent of investigations by any other party,
Accidents rarely happen solely because just one person done something wrong or because of a single hardware/ software issue; in fact such an accident would point to a systemic failure that allowed such a weakness to exist with no safegaurds.
Accidents/ Incidents are normally the result of several causative factors coming together wher the absence of anyone factor would have changed the outcome and most likely has been doing on a regular basis; The Swiss Cheese Model
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Old February 13th, 2016, 03:21 PM   #2925
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Exactly. Except in cases of gross negligence (train driver intoxicatd or texting all the time; purposefully false state of inspection log etc), it is difficult to identify individual culprits, unless the investigation turns into a witch hunt. But if accident investigations do become witch hunts, something worse happens, a working environment where everybody's main concern is pass the bucket in a legal way to somebody else and protect his/her own standing, even if that includes not raising red flags when they should. Now imagine a railway (or airline, or power plant etc) run on a "I want to see the least possible so I can't be deemed responsible later" and "don't ask me and I won't tell you" basis.
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Old February 13th, 2016, 03:51 PM   #2926
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Yes of course that is the principle behind it.

But even a case of a driver being drunk would point to a systemic or cultural failure, where a drunk driver was able to take control of the train; making him just one of many elements which contributed to the accident.
I don't believe taking a blood sample from a driver involved in an accident as part of the police inquiry could be interpreted as being predjudicial to an independant investigation, I suspect it would be standard practise. I mean nobodys going to tell rescue workers not to cut victims free in case they tamper with evidence.
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Old February 15th, 2016, 01:47 AM   #2927
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suasion View Post


...
That said, it's not forbidden for them to cooperate in establishing cold hard facts. They usually do that in Croatia. Safety board investigators help police on scene because policemen are not well educated on inner workings of railway systems.

of course, any conclusions that stem from these facts have to be without influence of the other investigation.
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Old February 15th, 2016, 03:31 AM   #2928
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
pass the bucket
OT
It's "to pass the buck" (see Wikipedia). Not blaming you, I just discovered it myself.

To pass the bucket sounds like a mix with the Italian phrase ("to dump the barrel")
/OT
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Old February 15th, 2016, 06:10 AM   #2929
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackraven View Post
So who is to blame? Negligence of staff? Or equipment failure?
Quote:
Originally Posted by suasion View Post


A properly run investigation is not about finding "the blame". It is to establish the facts and identify the all the contributing factors involved in order to reccomend mitigation measures to prevent future occurences. Investigations which seek to apportion blame will never get the truth because people will become uncooperative, maybe modify their stories, point fingers or even hide evidence.
Of course if cases of criminal negligence or deliberate wrongdoing are found then sanctions may be applied.

From the European Railway Safety Directive/1
Bonus incentives for being on time? Not much for the staffs but significant for the higher ups.
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Old February 15th, 2016, 10:46 AM   #2930
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyridgeline View Post
Bonus incentives for being on time? Not much for the staffs but significant for the higher ups.
In local and regional traffic, carriers have to pay penalties if they fail to reach a certain quota of punctuality, so this could count as a (certainly not the most important) factor in attempting a dangerous maneuver as the signaler apparently attempted. Does anyone know: How does the punctuality penalty system work in a case like here, where the trains are operated by a private company (BOB), but the line by DB Netz? Can DB Netz be held accountable for delays? If not, then this case of neglect seems even less understandable.
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Old February 15th, 2016, 11:32 AM   #2931
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If true, that could indeed be a contributing factor. However such concerns should not be able to override the safety systems.
Neither is it in the operators intrest to avoid paying fines by risking writing off rolling stock and paying out large compensations.

Its easy to speculate now and try to identify a single cause of the accident but I expect the report to highlight to a number of contributing factors; some more serious than others.

Investigations have found when people break rules leading to an accident, it rarely is the first time they have done so, and they often felt they had to break the rules in order to do their job.

For example, the drive for punctuality scenario you put forward requires at least four factors, and most likely several more.

1 Excessive managerial pressure in the operating company to be on time.
2 A culture within their operations department which requested/tolerated short circuting safety features to facilitate this.
3 A culture in the track operating company which permitted shortcircuting of its own regulations to facilitate operators demands.
4 A signalling system which allowed signallers to bypass safety systems, allowing potentially dangerous traffic conflicts to arise.

Quote:
That said, it's not forbidden for them to cooperate in establishing cold hard facts.
No of course its not forbidden, ERA/GUI/02-2012 sets out that it should be agreed about priority for interviews and examining evidence should be agreed. and of course you can't establish if it is an obvious criminal act requiring the police to have priority without the police having a look for obvious eveidence of such. The thrust is about preventing a police investigation influencing the outcome of an investigation because of how those involved may perceive police involvement.
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Old February 15th, 2016, 07:32 PM   #2932
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Train operating companies are indeed held accountable for performance of their trains, but situations that are outside the TOC's control are not taken into account when the TOC's performance is benchmarked.

BOB can't be held accountable for the late running of a DB Fernverkehr train, for instance. It's up to traffic control to prioritise traffic when that happens. Also, infrastructure unavailability does not impact TOC performance figures.
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Old February 16th, 2016, 11:56 AM   #2933
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Yes, Alex, but my question is: what happens when DB Netz fails to provide the time slot it contractually promised to BOB? Say for example a freight train passing the line before BOB is running late or there is a signal malfunction causing the delay. Can DB Netz simply say, sorry, but we don't care, and the delay is eliminated from BOB's punctuality statistics, or can BOB or the regional traffic authority demand some kind of compensation? The point is to understand whether DB Netz is under economic pressure to ensure punctuality or whether it could act like an administration that has other priorities.
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Old February 16th, 2016, 05:55 PM   #2934
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According to prosecutors, human error was to blame for the crash at Bad Aibling.

http://news.sky.com/story/1642980/hu...an-train-crash
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35585302
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Old February 16th, 2016, 07:38 PM   #2935
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baron Hirsch View Post
Yes, Alex, but my question is: what happens when DB Netz fails to provide the time slot it contractually promised to BOB? Say for example a freight train passing the line before BOB is running late or there is a signal malfunction causing the delay. Can DB Netz simply say, sorry, but we don't care, and the delay is eliminated from BOB's punctuality statistics, or can BOB or the regional traffic authority demand some kind of compensation? The point is to understand whether DB Netz is under economic pressure to ensure punctuality or whether it could act like an administration that has other priorities.
If BOB misses a path due to DB Netze prioritising a different TOC's train, then this will not be reflected in BOB's punctuality figures as it was out of their control. The same applies when the delay is caused by infrastructure failure.

Whether or not BOB will be compensated for delays is up to the contract between BOB and DB Netze. If the delay is caused by DB Netze, then BOB will be compensated for the unavailability of the requested path.

If the delay is caused by another train, it's not as simple since DB Netze sells various types of paths, each having different priorities. When a BOB train is delayed by 5 minutes because DB Netze prioritises a delayed ICE, the signaller has given the ICE priority to pass and BOB will just have to 'deal with it'.

If this happens repeatedly, then measures will have to be taken by DB Netze, BOB and the other TOCs as there clearly is a pathing issue, which could be rectified by having a train leave a minute earlier or arrive a minute later somewhere.
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Old February 16th, 2016, 11:29 PM   #2936
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Quote:
According to prosecutors, human error was to blame for the crash at Bad Aibling.
And thats exactly why the legal authorities need to be kept away from the investigation. I can't imagine this individual or anyone else being candid now and I expect other people involved only taking advice before giving any more interviews.

Quote:
The point is to understand whether DB Netz is under economic pressure to ensure punctuality or whether it could act like an administration that has other priorities
Such things might go a long way to explaining why the signaller acted as he did.
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Old February 17th, 2016, 02:48 AM   #2937
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I have attempted to create a schematic drawing of the track layout between Bad Aibling and Kolbermoor:



I have based my drawing on these cab-ride videos:
- Bad Aibling to Kolbermoor (29:00 to 36:30)
- Kolbermoor to Bad Aibling (03:00 to 10:30)

Please note that there are a few foot crossings which I have not drawn on this map as they are not protected by a signal. Also, the drawing is not to scale.

About the infrastructure:
- Axle counters are used for train detection.
- All main signals on this track have a Zs1 alongsides them.
- The signals at 28.7 and 29.4 are automatic block signals, and are connected to the level crossing at 28.8.
- In Germany, main signals are usually placed a bit before the start of a block or danger point, this allows trains to come to a full stop before reaching the point of danger.
- I suspect the block division to be located somewhere between 28.8 and 29.2.

This is what we know so far:
- The timetable of both trains:
Code:
+--------------+-----------+-----------+
| Train nr.    |    79505  |    79506  |
| Direction    | -> Kmoor  | <- B. A.  |
+--------------+-----------+-----------+
| Bad Aibling  |    06:38  |    06:51  |
| B.A. Kurpark |    06:40  |    06:48  |
| Kolbermoor   |    06:44  |    06:45  |
+--------------+-----------+-----------+
- The trains are scheduled to meet each other at Kolbermoor. The westbound train has a 5 minute stop there to allow the eastbound train to pass.
- The eastbound train was delayed by approximately 4 minutes, the westbound train was running according to schedule.
- The eastbound train was supposed to remain at Bad Aibling, to prevent the westbound train from getting delayed as well.
- At Bad Aibling, both trains use platform 1 at this time of day.

Here is what I think what has happened:
- At 6:43, the eastbound train left Bad Aibling, after being given a Zs1. As both trains were planned to use platform 1, this could explain why the driver did not notice anything unusual as the points in front of him would have already been pointing in the right direction.
- After a short stop at B.A. Kurpark, the eastbound train resumed its journey at 6:45.
- At 6:45, the westbound train left Kolbermoor according to schedule.
- When both trains initiated their departure, the block inbetween them was empty. The westbound train got a proceed aspect according to the timetable, the eastbound train got a proceed aspect because the next block was still empty.
- Both trains went past the main signals before the opposite train had entered the block beyond it.
- After leaving B.A. Kurpark, there were no more signals to alert the driver of the eastbound train of any oncoming trains.
- The driver of the westbound train could have been warned by the distant signal at 30.5, but as the associated main signal guards a level crossing it would not be unusual for this distant signal to show a 'caution' aspect.
- At 30.3km both trains collided head-on, without having seen eachother due to the curvy nature of the track.

* Source: Tagesspiegel
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Last edited by AlexNL; February 17th, 2016 at 08:35 PM. Reason: The signal at 29.4 is a combined signal, I had only drawn the main signal
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Old February 17th, 2016, 09:07 AM   #2938
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But how is it possible that the interlocking system allowed the two signalmen to open
itineraries in opposite directions on a single track ? There's something I don't get here...
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Old February 17th, 2016, 09:21 AM   #2939
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexNL View Post
I have attempted to create a schematic drawing of the track layout between Bad Aibling and Kolbermoor:



I have based my drawing on these cab-ride videos:
- Bad Aibling to Kolbermoor (29:00 to 36:30)
- Kolbermoor to Bad Aibling (03:00 to 10:30)

Please note that there are a few foot crossings which I have not drawn on this map as they are not protected by a signal. Also, the drawing is not to scale.

About the infrastructure:
- Axle counters are used for train detection.
- All main signals on this track have a Zs1 alongsides them.
- The signals at 28.7 and 29.4 are automatic block signals, and are connected to the level crossing at 28.8.
- In Germany, main signals are usually placed a bit before the start of a block or danger point, this allows trains to come to a full stop before reaching the point of danger.
- I suspect the block division to be located somewhere between 28.8 and 29.2.

This is what we know so far:
- The timetable of both trains:
Code:
+--------------+-----------+-----------+
| Train nr.    |    79505  |    79506  |
| Direction    | -> Kmoor  | <- B. A.  |
+--------------+-----------+-----------+
| Bad Aibling  |    06:38  |    06:51  |
| B.A. Kurpark |    06:40  |    06:48  |
| Kolbermoor   |    06:44  |    06:45  |
+--------------+-----------+-----------+
- The trains are scheduled to meet each other at Kolbermoor. The westbound train has a 5 minute stop there to allow the eastbound train to pass.
- The eastbound train was delayed by approximately 4 minutes, the westbound train was running according to schedule.
- The eastbound train was supposed to remain at Bad Aibling, to prevent the westbound train from getting delayed as well.
- At Bad Aibling, both trains use platform 1 at this time of day.

Here is what I think what has happened:
- At 6:43, the eastbound train left Bad Aibling, after being given a Zs1. As both trains were planned to use platform 1, this could explain why the driver did not notice anything unusual as the points in front of him would have already been pointing in the right direction.
- After a short stop at B.A. Kurpark, the eastbound train resumed its journey at 6:45.
- At 6:45, the westbound train left Kolbermoor according to schedule.
- When both trains initiated their departure, the block inbetween them was empty. The westbound train got a proceed aspect according to the timetable, the eastbound train got a proceed aspect because the next block was still empty.
- Both trains went past the main signals before the opposite train had entered the block beyond it.
- After leaving B.A. Kurpark, there were no more signals to alert the driver of the eastbound train of any oncoming trains.
- The driver of the westbound train could have been warned by the distant signal at 30.5, but as the associated main signal guards a level crossing it would not be unusual for this distant signal to show a 'caution' aspect.
- At 30.3km both trains collided head-on, without having seen eachother due to the curvy nature of the track.

* Source: Tagesspiegel
Surely the eastbound train driver knew he/she was late! Late train wait - is that correct?

I think the intention was to have the on time westbound train wait longer at Kolbermoor so that the eastbound late train can get to Rosenheim on time for successful passenger transfers.

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Old February 17th, 2016, 12:00 PM   #2940
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I find it strange that two trains could be allowed proceed towards a block from opposite directions despite the the fact that there was there was no possibilty of creating anything other than a conflict. There is no way 32.6 should be able to give a proceed aspect to a westbound train if an east bound train has departed from Bad Aibling. It doesnt matter that there is an empty block between them, without a passing loop one of them is going to have to reverse out of the section anyway.
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