Final Word from Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Whenever a plane crashes or a train derails in the world, accident investigators consider whether human error, equipment failure or other factors were responsible. A proper investigation into the death of the engine driver and injury of 11 passengers in the derailing yesterday of a City Elephant train from Škoda Vagonka would look not only at the usual possible causes of such an accident, but also the Czech-specific circumstances. Czech Railways, DP Praha and other local transport companies have increasingly put their passengers' safety into the hands of locomotives and trains from the Škoda/Appian group of companies. Often, it seems the main criterion has been the excellent political connections of Škoda's anonymous owners. Siemens, which was no match politically for the Škoda machine, had to shut down its Prague rail business for lack of orders. A logical question for investigators is to what degree equipment safety has been compromised as a result of the political decision to feed the Škoda monopoly.[Czech Republic Škoda Transportation Dopravní podnik]

Glossary of difficult words

to derail - to cause a train to leave its tracks accidentally; (of a train) accidentally to leave the tracks;

DP Praha - the Prague public-transit company;

machine - an efficient and well-organized group of powerful people;


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