The end of an extraordinary case

The end of a nine-year tunnel of law for 215 civilian parties, seven of which are investigations. The trial of the Brétigny-sur-Orge (Essonne) rail disaster will conclude on Friday, 17 June, after seven weeks of debate and at least 52 sessions to determine the causes of one of the most serious traffic accidents for railroads. About twenty years in France.

On 12 July 2013, seven people were killed when the Corail train number 3657, connecting Paris to Limoges, derailed at the entrance of Brétigny station. Dozens of people were physically injured, hundreds of people in shock. A total of 435 victims were identified.

These seven weeks allowed many victims or their relatives to express themselves. Some were on the train, others were on the platform cut by several wagons. They came to talk about their physical and psychological trauma, their fear of getting on the train again. Others spoke of the agonizing hours of waiting before receiving the dreadful news of the disappearance of a loved one, child, father or mother, brother or sister.

broken voices

Voices are sometimes broken with sadness but also angry voices. Outrage against SNCF, which the parties accuse of failing to take responsibility for. Alongside SNCF Réseau (infrastructure manager), the railroad company is actually on trial for defendants on trial for involuntary injury and manslaughter. A third defendant, the only natural person, is a former SNCF executive, 24 years old at the time of the accident, who had conducted the last trail monitoring tour of this area.

While in this section its speed is limited to 150 km/h, it is a kind of big staple that connects the two tracks, acting as a springboard under the wheel of the train moving at 137 km/h. path. According to SNCF experts, the accident, never observed in railroad history, was due to an undetected metallurgical defect that caused a sudden rupture shortly before the accident. For investigative magistrates, by contrast, breaking bolts is the result of a slow decay process combined with faulty inspection.

technical conflicts

The long hours of the trial were devoted to highly technical conflicts. Many questions arose as to the necessity or necessity of early replacement of the culprit key. Or the absence of train speed limits. Railway workers’ unions, including civic parties, spoke of the reduction in the number of maintenance crews. “permanent disorder” and one “ corruption Due to the insufficient tools of the state, the network

While SNCF’s defense seeking his release has reminded several times that the company has always tried to contribute to the investigation with complete transparency, the discussions also highlighted some adventures. Such as the difficulty of investigating magistrates in obtaining documents related to maintenance operations. Or these wiretaps by railroad workers, where legal department employees are advising them not to be proactive with investigators.

The said appropriations

This Thursday should be reserved for the defense defences, as the prosecutor on Wednesday requested the maximum fine of €450,000 against SNCF, but the SNCF requested the release of Réseau and the former local administrator. The decision can be stored until autumn. “Everything will not be resolved on June 17 for the civil parties, It highlights Thierry Gomes, president of the disaster victims association who lost their parents to him. There may even be an appeal, but the victims are ready for it. » Then it will be up to the court to decide.

However, civic parties still have a concern. On 14 June, SNCF’s defense requested referral from the court regarding the civil aspect of the case, namely the issue of compensation claimed by the civil parties. He justifies this with a stream of dozens of new requests in recent days that have not given him time to process these files.

Lawyers for the civil parties opposed it, fearing that this episode would again take years and be reviewed by a judge who would not follow the case from A to Z. The president has asked SNCF lawyers to file the elements, including Friday. already “ready” for civil defense.


A performance contract for the rail network

The performance contract that sets the financial trajectory of SNCF Réseau (owner and manager of the infrastructure) up to 2030 has been signed with the State, the Ministry of Ecological Transition pointed out. This contract, whose finalization is delayed by two years, plans to invest 2.8 billion euros per year for the renewal of the structuring network. This agreement was widely criticized even before it was signed by Bernard Roman, head of the Transport Regulatory Authority (ART), among others, the French Regions and several senators, all of whom found it too inadequate.