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Train collision in Greece | Start of the station master’s hearing, new gatherings planned



(Larissa) Anger is not abating in Greece where a large rally is planned for Sunday morning in Athens in memory of the 57 people killed in the train disaster this week near Larissa, where the station master in question is preparing to be heard by the court.

Students, railway and public sector workers gathered at 11 a.m. (4 a.m. EST) on Sunday at Syntagma Square, across from Parliament, to demonstrate. For their part, the families of the victims have planned to gather near the scene of the tragedy five days after the disaster, at the Tempé station.

On Sunday, the 59-year-old station master’s hearing is also held, implicated for having made a fatal error which led to the accident on Tuesday evening, after being postponed on Saturday by the Greek courts.


Lawyer Stefanos Pantzartzidis, who represents the station master, answered questions from journalists on Saturday in Larissa.

The investigating judge of Larissa, the town closest to the scene of the tragedy, will have to decide at the end of this hearing whether he charges him with “manslaughter by negligence”.

The anger that has rumbled since this disaster has not gone down, hundreds of demonstrators gathered calmly in Athens and Thessaloniki at the end of the day on Saturday at the call of the Communist youth.

The man, whose identity has not been revealed, had only received 40 days of training to become a station master.

According to a judicial source, the investigation also aims “to initiate criminal proceedings, if necessary, against members of the management of the company” Hellenic Train, the Greek railways.

It is the third deadliest train accident in Europe in the past 25 years, after the 1991 train derailment in Germany which killed 101 people, and the 2013 train crash in Spain in which 80 people were killed. been killed.


Relatives comfort each other during the funeral of Ifigenia Mitska, one of the victims of the train tragedy, on Saturday in Giannitsa, in the north of the country.

Alone and inexperienced

According to the daily Kathimerini, justice seeks to understand how an inexperienced station master found himself, alone, without anyone to supervise him, at Larissa station for four days when rail traffic on this line was intense due to a long weekend linked to an Orthodox holiday.

A search was carried out Friday in the station of Larissa.

The government has also decided to appoint a committee of experts to investigate the causes of the accident.

Since the day after the disaster, the Greeks have taken to the streets to express their anger, accusing the authorities of negligence and pointing the finger at the dilapidated state of the railway infrastructure.

The burials of victims also began in an immense emotion.

This tragedy shocked Greece in particular because the victims were for many young students returning from a long weekend in Thessaloniki, the large university city in the north.

The outbursts of anger also led to clashes in Athens and Thessaloniki. On Friday evening, the police used tear gas and sound grenades in these two cities.


Demonstration in front of the Greek parliament, Friday evening in Athens

“Murderers! »

The anger is primarily directed at Hellenic Train. The word “Assassins” was painted in red letters on the window of the headquarters in Athens in front of which more than 5,000 angry people gathered on Friday and demanding accountability.

The company is blamed for numerous negligence and shortcomings that led to this disaster described as a “national tragedy” by the authorities.

She defended herself on Saturday evening, stressing that she “was present from the first moment on the scene” and set up “a call center […] to provide information.

The company also assured that it only manages passenger and freight transport, while the Greek public railway company (OSE) is responsible for the network, and therefore for its maintenance and modernization.

Union representatives at the Hellenic Train company sounded the alarm three weeks ago, warning: “We are not going to wait for the accident to happen to see those responsible shed crocodile tears”.

Young Greeks are demanding the truth despite the government’s mea culpa on the “chronic” failures of the rail network that led to the accident.


“We are filled with rage and cannot accept that such a tragic event could occur in 2023,” said student union president Angelos Thomopoulos.

The trains did not run on Thursday and Friday after a call for a strike by the railway unions. The call was renewed on Friday for another 48 hours. The Athens metro also planned to strike again on Sunday after a first strike on Thursday.

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