The lack of rail safety in Greece is demonstrated in a shocking video shot in the town of Amyntaio, near Florina in northern Greece.
The footage uploaded on social media after the train disaster at Tempi, shows the level crossing gates opening in the center of the town when a train is approaching! It demonstrates the terrible deficiencies in the infrastructure of the railway network in Greece.
Locals are apparently familiar with the deficiency and are stopping when the gates open. The particular crossing has been dubbed “the crossing of death.”
Στο μεταξύ στο Αμύνταιο Φλώρινας, σε μία διάβαση θανάτου, το τρένο περνάει όταν σηκωθούν οι μπάρες.
Οι ντόπιοι γνωρίζουν, οι υπόλοιποι όμως;
Ζούμε από θαύμα σε αυτή τη χώρα… pic.twitter.com/u90AtjrucX
— ▪️𝝮𝞀𝝰𝝸𝝾𝘀 𝝟𝝾𝝸𝝻𝞈𝝻𝝴𝝼𝝾𝘀▪️ (@sleepygeor) March 2, 2023
Rail safety in Greece in poor state
Many in Greece see the crash at Tempi, where at least 57 people were killed, as an accident that had been waiting to happen, and the rail union blamed successive governments’ “disrespect” towards Greek railways for leading to this “tragic result”.
Much of what happened leading up to the crash remains unclear. But officials and experts agreed on one thing: If a modern safety system had been in place as planned, it would have been all but impossible for a freight train to end up on the same track as a crowded passenger train.
Warnings would have sounded, and automatic brakes would have kicked in.
As the New York Times says in a report, Greece’s rail system consistently ranks among Europe’s most dangerous, despite the $700 million in modernization money given by the European Union over the past decade.
And the installation of the new safety system became so bogged down that a senior government official quit last year to protest what he called “unjustifiable delays.”
“If the European Train Control System would have been installed and working properly, it should have absolutely prevented something like this from happening,” Jedde Hollewijn, the railways policy officer for the European Transport Workers’ Federation told the NYT.
“The intention is that all European countries implement this, and we know that Greece has been lagging significantly.”