Train collision in Greece: a foreseeable disaster?

At least 47 people were killed and 80 injured in a head-on collision between two trains on the Athens-Thessaloniki line on Tuesday. Employees of the Hellenic Railway Company OSE explained that traffic on the line has been controlled manually since 2000 due to a damaged signalling system. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has blamed human error for the tragedy. Greece’s press says he is evading his own responsibility with this statement.

Naftemporiki (GR) /

Anachronistic technology

The conditions at the Hellenic Railways Organisation are untenable, Naftemporiki fumes:

“In the age of drones, satellites, the Internet, digitalisation, AI, robotics and UFO balloons, the OSE failed to notice that two trains were speeding towards a head-on collision. ... In the age of the digitalisation of the public sector, the OSE insists on manually regulating train services on two lines. In the age of e-books, smartphones, tablets, electronic signatures, telematics and teleworking, OSE stationmasters keep manual logbooks. This is the modern OSE, these are the modern investors, the Greek state, which, no matter how much it is modernised, will always be slow, anachronistic, rusty and detested.”

Platonas Tsoulos
Infowar (GR) /

Infrastructure deliberately neglected

Infowar sees the disaster as a direct consequence of the privatisation process:

“The period before privatisation often sees the most rapid deterioration of state infrastructure because the governments that want to sell it off systematically devalue it to show the world that ‘the state can’t manage it’. This has been the case with the Hellenic Railways Organisation for years, with several successive governments preparing for privatisation. Such a disastrous state of affairs is very difficult to reverse after privatisation.”