High-speed TGV train hits concrete block on tracks between Paris and west coast

An investigation has been opened in France after a high-speed train travelling at up to 200km/h and carrying 175 passengers hit a block of concrete that had been placed on the tracks. Rail chiefs say it was a "malicious act".

High-speed TGV train hits concrete block on tracks between Paris and west coast
Photo: AFP

The train that was travelling from Paris to La Rochelle on the west coast hit the block of concrete at around 10pm on Sunday night near the town of Surgères in the department of Charente-Maritime.

The train was not derailed and although none of the 175 passengers and crew were injured, pictures showed the impact damaged windows of the train.

The train was travelling at between 150 and 200km/h.

The train was delayed by over an hour and other services on the line were also disrupted.

French rail chiefs have pressed charges meaning police will open up an investigation into what has been described as a “malicious act”.


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Swedish government shelves plans for two fast train links

Sweden's government has called for a halt to planning to faster train links between Gothenburg and Borås and Jönköping and Hässleholm, in a move local politicians have called "a catastrophe".

Swedish government shelves plans for two fast train links

In an announcement slipped out just before Christmas Eve, the government said it had instructed the Swedish Transport Administration to stop all planning for the Borås to Gothenburg link, stop the ongoing work on linking Hässleholm and Lund. 

“The government wants investments made in the railway system to first and foremost make it easier for commuting and cargo traffic, because that promotes jobs and growth,” infrastructure minister Andreas Carlson said in a press release. “Our approach is for all investments in the railways that are made to be more cost effective than if the original plan for new trunk lines was followed.” 

Ulf Olsson, the Social Democrat mayor in Borås, told the TT newswire that the decision was “a catastrophe”. 

“We already have Sweden’s slowest railway, so it’s totally unrealistic to try to build on the existing railway,” he said. We are Sweden’s third biggest commuting region and have no functioning rail system, and to release this the day before Christmas Eve is pretty symptomatic.”

Per Tryding, the deputy chief executive for the Southern Sweden Chamber of Commerce, complained that the decision meant Skåne, Sweden’s most southerly county, would now have no major rail infrastructure projects. 

“Now the only big investment in Skåne which was in the plan is disappearing, and Skåne already lay far behind Gothenburg and Stockholm,” he said.

“This is going to cause real problems and one thing that is certain that it’s going to take a very long time, whatever they eventually decide. It’s extremely strange to want to first suspend everything and then do an analysis instead of doing it the other way around.”  

The government’s instructions to the transport agency will also mean that there will be no further planning on the so-called central parts of the new planned trunk lines, between Linköping and Borås and Hässleholm and Jönköping. 

Carlson said that the government was prioritising “the existing rail network, better road standards, and a build-out of charging infrastructure”.