Greece: after rail disaster, anger gives way to sadness

The manifestations of anger are multiplying in the country to protest against the failures of the Greek rail system which led to the deadly collision of two trains Tuesday evening.

by Marina RADENBERG ( Athens, correspondence)

At nightfall, confusing silence invades Syntagma square, in the center of Athens, this Friday, March 3. Nearly 4,000 people hold black balloons and candles to pay tribute to the victims of the violent collision of trains on Tuesday evening near Larissa, in the center of Greece. “It is a calm vigil … But it is only the beginning, the anger and the rage of the world are able to quickly explode”, predicts Vassilis who does not recover from the tragic death of at least fifty-seven people in The “worst rail disaster that the country has ever known”. Among the victims are many students from Thessaloniki (North) who returned from Athens after a long weekend. “No one can digest the fact that they were still children and that this accident could have been avoided,” continues the fifties. He also admits having taken this train line in his life that had “bad reputation” only in his life.

Three days after the drama, revelations on the dilapidation of a rail network in the process of continuous degradation since the economic crisis (2010-2018), the lack of modern signaling system, multiple warnings of railway unions and Experts on network failures who have not been heard leaves a bitter taste. Neither the indicators, nor the signaling lights nor the electronic traffic control worked, the station leaders did not even have Talkies-Walkies to communicate. The Larissa station manager was inexperienced, according to the public television channel ERT, having received only three months training before being appointed to this position.

The 59 -year -old man admitted to having been neglected. Pursued in particular for “negligence homicides” and “involuntary bodily injuries”, it must be heard by justice on Saturday. But for the Greeks, “it was not just a human error”, “it was not an accident, but a crime”, as they have been chanting for three days now in the multiple demonstrations that took place through the country. “The State should have modernized the network. It is completely responsible,” enrages Evgenia Theodosopoulou. The retiree had knowledge that was traveling on this train. She lets a few tears run. The apparently peaceful rally ended with jets of Molotov cocktails and stones against the police. 2> “delays” and “chronic pathological”

Thursday, March 2, the spokesperson for the Greek government, Ioannis Oikonomou, admitted “chronic pathologies” on the rail network, and recognized “delays” taken in the modernization of railways, even though the European Commission has paid Greece 700 million euros, since 2014, to develop sixteen rail projects.

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/Media reports cited above.