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Turkish transportation minister says signaling control not necessary in rail transport

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Turkish Transportation Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan has said signaling control, a process by which control is exercised over train movements by way of railway signals and block systems to ensure that trains operate safely, is not necessary in rail transport, Turkish media reports said on Friday.

Turan’s remarks came in the wake of a train accident in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Thursday in which nine people were killed and 86 injured.

The accident took place when a high speed train crashed into a locomotive in a suburb of Ankara.

Following the tragedy, an official from Turkish State Railways (TCDD) said the accident was caused by the lack of signaling control as the trains were being controlled through a manual system.

Speaking to reporters on Friday Turhan responded to allegations of negligence on the part of authorities and denied that signaling control was necessary.

“Signaling control is not a sine qua non for rail transport. There is no such thing that a rail system cannot be operated in the absence of [signaling control],” the minister said, adding that those arguing to the contrary are making an incorrect judgment.

In early July, 24 people were killed when a passenger train derailed in the Çorlu district of Tekirdağ in northwestern Turkey.

Many people say the accidents occurred because of the authorities’ failure to regularly maintain the tracks and the rail system, a claim denied by the government.

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