Belgian train drivers strike after crash killing 18

Belgian train drivers went on strike, a day after a rail crash that killed 18 people, increasing disruption to local and international services.

Belgian train drivers strike after crash killing 18

Belgian train drivers went on strike on Tuesday, a day after a rail crash that killed 18 people, increasing disruption to local and international services.

Services were hit heaviest by the wildcat stoppage in Belgium's southern region, Wallonia. Drivers in the Flemish cities of Leuven, the origin of one of the two crashed trains, and Antwerp also stopped work.

"It's a combination of factors -- work pressure, lack of training, coupled with the emotional impact of the crash," Jos Dignette, an ACOD public sector union official said, adding it was likely to last 24 hours.

"We understand and support this action, although we have not called it."

Two commuter trains crashed head-on outside Brussels during Monday's rush hour. According to the provincial governor, one of the trains had run past a red light.

The crash knocked out Eurostar services between Brussels and Britain and all trains to France, including the high-speed Thalys, which also runs to the Netherlands and Germany.

Belgian railway line operator Infrabel said a limited Thalys service had resumed to Paris. Eurostar trains were running between London and Lille in France, with passengers able to take buses within Belgium.

Eurostar said its services to Brussels would not be back to normal on Wednesday. Thalys said it was considering sending its trains on an alternative line. Both Eurostar and Thalys were advising passengers to postpone their travel.

Infrabel said it was not clear when services would fully return to normal. Only after investigators had completed their work would Infrabel be able to determine the degree of damage to overhead power lines.

The death toll from the accident stood at 18, with 171 people injured, making it Belgium's deadliest train disaster since the same number died following a derailment in 1974.

Reuters

Last Mod: 16 Şubat 2010, 22:50
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