The Presidents of the SNCF and RFF respond to Figaro after our revelations about the failed switch.
The publication by Le Figaro audit SNCF did not fail to elicit reactions, especially in the railway. The report concluded that the splint that has been at the heart of the switch causing the derailment of the Paris-Limoges, a bolt was missing before the accident. In addition, the symmetrical joint, he raised two Loose bolts , bolt absent without nut and bolt. Guillaume Pepy, the head of the SNCF, and Jacques Rapoport , the Reseau Ferre de France, held to explain .
Le Figaro. – Why not have released this report on July 22? Why did you cover behind the secretde instruction?
Guillaume Pepy. – The SNCF investigation report called for immediate recognition, is a clear legal framework, through an accident. It must be forwarded to the Ministry of Transport and public institution railway safety. Our first intention was to make the report public. I called the prosecutor who told me he was going to open a criminal investigation therefore covered by the secrecy of the investigation. He asked me to send him what I did.
At the press conference on July 24, two days after sending your report to justice, you do not say it lacked a bolt on the splice and before the accident. Why?
Guillaume Pepy. – We released the photos taken of the splice two days later. We observe a missing bolt on the third hole. When we met on the boards of the SNCF and RFF July 15 evening, we were told “the third side bolt Paris has not been found and the lug hole is oxidized” (ie rusted This means that the bolt was not in place for some time, Ed). At no time do we have hidden anything.
After checking your campaign across the network, you say “6% of the bolts were tightened and 0.2% have been replaced.” By “replaced”, you mean that there was no audit or before they were changed because failing?
Jacques Rapoport. – This means that the bolts were in a state that required replacement. We can not exclude that some were missing.
Internally, the railway say it is not uncommon to see a bolt missing on a splint. It is even “a risk accepted.” However, when two bolts are missing, they must be urgently replaced. What does the procedure?
Jacques Rapoport. – It should look exactly as provided in the rules. They are considered by the magistrates in charge of the judicial investigation. It is clear that if maintenance standards proved defective at the end of this survey, we would change immediately.
A bolt that is missing on one plate with four holes, this is tolerated?
Guillaume Pepy. – No, of course. The investigation will show whether the maintenance rules are imprecise and should be completed if their application was defective. I can not do the investigation instead of justice. It is clear that this is a central point in the legal proceedings. Our obsession with 50,000 railway is to ensure at all times the safety of the network.
You are aware that missing bolt and problems on symmetric seal revive the issue of a maintenance problem?
Guillaume Pepy. – The internal audit report that we commissioned after the derailment elaborates on the immediate cause of the accident but can not indicate the cause. We await the results of the criminal investigation to say whether or not there was a maintenance problem.
Jacques Rapoport. – Bretigny is a disaster. However, I argue that our network is under control. Last year, we identified 126 critical events (a crossing barrier defect level, a driver who crosses a red light). It was ten years ago, there were 309. The last fatal derailment in France dates back to twenty-two years.
July 4, eight days before the accident, the employee conducting the inspection concluded that there is no “anomaly” in this area. What do you say?
Guillaume Pepy. – All computers and hard drives were seized by the courts. We just know that this inspection has found nothing abnormal if traffic was slowed or stopped to trigger work rehabilitation. Moreover, we do not have access to the investigation file and we do not have knowledge of the statements that have been able to make our employees to investigators. We do not want to discard on our employees. We never said it was a personal foul.
Two and a half months after the accident, you reaffirm your “responsibility”?
Guillaume Pepy. – Yes, the day after the accident, RFF and SNCF chose not to be in denial. We assumed our responsibility. This decision has sometimes been criticized. After an event like Bretigny, a company has three options: responsibility, silence or denial. We immediately made the choice of accountability and transparency. Now it’s time to get the results of metallurgical expertise to advance the investigation.
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