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Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member h_raky
N 40° 33.700 W 007° 49.249
29T E 599826 N 4490767
Quick Description: It was the worst rail accident ever in Portugal. Two trains collided in front of Beira, a line whose safety depended entirely on human resources.
Location: Viseu, Portugal
Date Posted: 1/10/2011 2:02:16 PM
Waymark Code: WMAFW5
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Crystal Sound
Views: 10

Long Description:
For 25 years, no cell phones or radio for locomotives, even after the error was detected only could be expected. In fact, since the 1755 earthquake, and the great floods of the 60s, no other accident is comparable to this, not even the Custóias occurred 25 years earlier.
Were 15.40 mn on 11 September 1985, when, with half-hour behind the mythical Sud-Express No. 315 leaves the station at Porto Campanha. The board followed about 300 passengers. Ahead of the powerful locomotive will mod. 1961 to 2250 hp (1950 hp reduced to the CP for the sake of consumption). The trip to Paris (France) runs normally. According to witnesses at that time, would have priority over the international interregional No. 10 320, who had meanwhile left the Guard to 16h55mn to Coimbra with 40 passengers, when they crossed paths. In front of the locomotive composition was mod. 1439, a little smaller than the Sud-Express.
At the beginning of the end of that afternoon sweltering late summer, the international Nelas reaches the station where passengers board and more around 18:30 mn commanded the station chief to leave. Yet almost at the same time a little over 6.5 km away, the interregional receives a factor of the way station of Alcafache, near Viseu, Viseu district, also to go towards Nelas. The two metal monsters were now on a collision course.
The huge Sud-Express, should be approximately 200 meters with 10 or 12 cars, while inter-regional smallest half that size. The station master had given Nelas almost starting off the season with the 1961 due to the size of the train and so slow to get to the command room of the station, possibly a couple of minutes, which calls for a way station to communicate the output Alcafache of the international interregional awaiting their arrival. But what was his surprise when the other side, the interregional had just left towards Nelas.
The boss leaves the room like a madman screaming "It's coming the other train. Herein, hearing, officials of the station is immediately aware of what is to happen. According to a witness "We knew that if a train had left on one side and another on the other, something would happen. We had no voice to speak ..." Anthony (not his real name) was a loader and was at the station of Nelas to distribute packages with a colleague that day September 11, 1985, which marked the history of the black path railways in Portugal. Anthony recalls the silence of late afternoon and the men stopped at the station waiting for the inevitable. The station master, when he learned that the trains were on a collision course, yet only tried to warn guards that the level existed between the two stations have to stop the International. In this situation, the woman who guards the gates raises the red flag to the train and if you have time, put firecrackers on track to warn the driver that he should stop. It was the last hope to avoid the tragedy, but when you call In them, the train had passed already there. At that time, remember, no mobile phones was too late. The shock was on the line.
18h35mn to a GNR patrol that was doing that day operation Stop near the road that runs along the railway line came to realize that among the forest that separates about 500 meters away from something big had happened. Must first have heard a deafening sound like a huge explosion of dynamite called attention to them. Immediately rushed towards the site. However, stations and Alcafache In them, all watching a huge column of smoke rising hundreds of feet, between the two locations.
The guard at the scene, faced with a catastrophic scenario and immediately called the fire department and the Nelas Mangualde that come immediately after 20 minutes and arrive on the scene. However, in reporting the former head of the Fire Department of Canas de Senhorim, "heard the message of an Ambulance Volunteer Firefighters of Aguiar da Beira, asking, so desperate, they were sent ambulances to the road between Viseu and Nelas. The request was repeated more than once. Thinking it was an accident with a bus, I commanded the immediate five ambulances. Meanwhile, and through another cry for help, someone who requested pump trucks, claiming that he burn the carriages.
The 1961 was a huge locomotive, with 5 feet tall, over 20 feet long and over 120 tons of weight. Just to have a sense of weight that is, more than three lorries of 40 tons fully loaded. It was designed, in addition to passenger trains could pull, to drag large heavy freight trains. Therefore it has a huge engine (see photo). The journey was long and therefore had to certify the tanks to feed a maximum engine size. However, the 1439 although a little small, also carried a significant amount of fuel. Hence, the disaster's already great has become even greater. There was still hope that the trains at stations if they could spot before entering a curve and can stop on a line that existed, or at least slow down the pace. Only the 1961 came from quickly and enters a curve.
The metal monsters may still have been sighted and even managed to slow down a little, but within seconds a driver must have realized that it was impossible to stop. Both came to 90 km / h. The shock of the two masses to 180 km / h was fatal. The international due to the higher weight, it still must have dragged the interregional backward. Thousands of gallons of fuel quickly sparked the carriages and the surrounding forests. When firefighters get there or want to believe what they see. Chariots on fire, people trapped inside the carriages and screaming, burned bodies, wounded people around the train in panic, and how everything was not enough, a forest fire began to ignite quickly. Quickly too, the long hours, begin to reinforcements arrive from everywhere. Firefighters from north to south and ambulances arrive with tanks. It was necessary to stabilize the massive fire, outside and inside the trains in order to save those still alive.
The disaster was so great that firefighters and other rescue workers and cleanup of the area, took three days before they could leave.
Of those killed, drivers and their companions must have been among the few who knew of that died. When both saw each other, seeing the danger marks front of both locomotives must have cold blood and realized that there was no chance of rescue.
Among the 460 passengers who were traveling in two trains victims are 49 confirmed dead, but has only been possible to recognize 14. And 64 passengers still missing. When all are confirmed for over a hundred victims. More recent data point to an estimate between 120 and 150 fatalities.
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