Track-switching system eyed in train crash

March 5, 2012 at 3:58 PM

WARSAW, Poland, March 5 (UPI) -- A defective track-switching system may have caused the southern Poland train collision that killed 16 people Saturday night, a train driver said.

Bogdan Marszalek, a train driver who regularly uses the route where the accident occurred, told the Rzeczpospolita daily the tracks where two passenger trains crashed head-on near the village of Szczekociny are new and the track-switching system had been installed just three months ago, Polskie Radio reported.

Marszalek said the traffic-control system is still being fine-tuned.

"It is not the driver that decides which track he goes on," Marszalek said.

The collision between an inter-city train from Warsaw to Krakow and a regional service train from Przemysl to Warsaw was Poland's worst rail disaster in more than two decades. More than 50 people were reported to have been injured.

Jan Gliszczynski, a railway union spokesman, suggested the driver of the inter-city train from Warsaw to Krakow may have had doubts about whether the train was on the right track.

Passengers who were on the train said it had slowed a few minutes before the collision.

"The slowing down of the train may indicate that the driver had doubts about whether he was on the right track," Gliszczynski said.

Polskie Radio reported the government said it has yet to determine the cause of the crash.

On-Train Monitoring Recorders, comparable to airplanes' "black boxes," have been found.

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