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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Safety on the Trains in Italy comes after (italian style) efficiency.

The National Railways (Treni Italia) doesn't overlook anything, not even the smallest detail when it comes to increasing the speed of their trains.
In the spirit of their motto, “The sooner we leave, the sooner we get there”, Trenitalia has devised another new way to speed up the departure of the trains.
The train driver is no longer obliged to check whether the warning lights indicating the closure of the doors are on or off before departure.
It is meant to be a productivity incentive for the railwaymen. What happens in reality is that, whoever jumps on board at the last minute, gets trapped in the doorway till the train calls at the next station.
According to railway's workers, these sliding doors have caused something like 800 accidents and 4 deaths since June, and this at Roma Termini, Pietrasanta, Torricella and Verona Stations alone.
The first class, 'Gran comfort' carriages, whose doors close in guillotine fashion, appear to be the worst offenders.
One man who most certainly experienced the ‘great comfort’ for himself, is train conductor Antonio Di Luccio, who was dragged 100m by the train and had one of his legs and a foot amputated.
“And yet the installation of safety devices would not require any major investment, especially considering the amount of money that is being spent on repainting and advertising” said Dante De Angelis, train driver and safety representative and he promptly was fired (and later re-engaged).
Conductors spend their weekends training at home, trying to close the doors of their houses hundreds of times, as quickly as possible.
Were their wives asking any questions, they would answer : “It is for my own safety”.
Trades Union Representatives from Sdl, Orsa, Cgil and Uil have requested immediate intervention of the Justice System.
Trenitalia remains unconcerned, and the company’s answer has been: “the figures have not, so far, indicated any problem regarding lack of safety”, and that “the safety criteria will increase with the introduction of new technologies”.
Whatever could these new technologies be? Following the “guillotine doors”, could we perhaps next be treated to “first-class electric chairs”, “sealed carriages with nerve gas” and “conductor’s noose”?


Liberally taken from Beppe Grillo
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