873 - Corlu train accident - Onur G

Corlu accident: Simple answers for hard questions


24 citizens lost their lives in the accident happened last weekend.

Unfortunately, trains were on headlines due to this painful event after 10 years.

We received many questions, but waited till now to understand the accident clearly.

Here are frequently asked questions and answers from our point of view:

How accident happened?

Uzunkopru-Halkali train was derailed at Corlu Sarilar region due to sweeped away ballast by sudden heavy rain.

Did accident happen due to high speed?

No. Speed was 110 km/h. This is within limits of passenger trains in such track.

Is railway old?

No, it’s renewed in recent years.

Is it true that accident happened from postpone of renewal of bridges?

The renewal of bridges on that route was postopened, since the only line connecting Istanbul to Europe should be kept closed during engineering works. But the accident is not related with those bridges.

Could loco drivers prevent this accident?

It’s impossible that drivers could see such a problem on way before hundreds of meters. When problem is in sight, there’s nothing they can do.

Is it true that all railway used to be checked by staff walking all through the track, and accident happened because this checks were cancelled?

Yes, the problem would be discovered in such a way. However, there’s one train every 2 hours on that route, and it’s not realistic to check all railway by eye before every train.

Why so many deads?

Uzunkopru-Kapikule train is one of the most crowded trains in Turkey. There were 362 passengers, train was almost full.

Is it ordinary that ballast is sweeped away?

It’s not. Ballast normally permits passage of water through. It may be weakened by water and dirt by time. However, this happened just over culvert, which means water should have rised until that height.

Isn’t there any solution?

Uzunkopru-Halkali railway is a signalized one. However, water didn’t sweep away that signaling system, but only balast.

There’s no widespread system which discovers such a problem yet. In Wisconsin University, a group of scientists designed a system with fiber optic lines discovering such problems.

There’s also an alternative to ballast which allows passage of water, but it’s not widespread either.

Ballast is still the most widespread trustful solution.

We hope the investigation will unveil the route causes and encourage research and development to prevent similar accidents.

Are trains safe?

The last train accident had happened 10 years ago before Corlu accident. Compared with cars and busses, it would be not wrong to count trains as safe.

When will the line open?

The repair of line was completed Tuesday night, and both passenger and freight trains started running.

Cover Photo: Onur G. ©

Written by Onur Uysal

Railway consultant. Owner of RT Media & Consultancy. Founder and editor of Rail Turkey.

One comment

  1. Thank you for your informative comments. It is regrettable that there was loss of life but Turkey should continue to expand and improve its rail networks as it is an enormously enjoyable option to travelling by road and flying.

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