While TGV Flies, French Rail Safety Slides

The derailment of an intercity train south of Paris last week is drawing attention to France's two-tiered rail system. While high-speed trains are celebrated and expanded, local lines suffer from underinvestment and neglect.
July 18, 2013, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"While investigators search for the cause of France's worst train disaster in 25 years, the government has vowed to improve the maintenance of its ageing rail network," reports Angelique Chrisafis. "But the derailment of a packed intercity train – which last week killed six and injured more than 100 – has left the country soul-searching about what used to be a point of national pride: its world-famous, high-tech railway system, which once put its European neighbours to shame."

"The accident at Brétigny-sur-Orge, south of Paris, has served to highlight what for years has been the dark side of the French railway dream: behind the famous, high-speed Train á Grande Vitesse (TGV) France struggled with neglected, ageing, overcrowded local lines starved of funds as the fast lines soaked up state investment. While the TGV sparkled, the rest of the network crumbled."

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Published on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 in The Guardian
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