Both worked at Larissa railway station, which is an important railway junction in the central part of Greece, south of the site of the accident, reports ekathimerini.com Greek portal in English.
The contractor claimed that he did not leave his shift early, it ended at 10:00 p.m. on February 28, and he left at 10:15 p.m.
The more experienced employee will appear before the investigating judge and prosecutor on Tuesday; he allegedly admitted that he left before the end of his shift, at 11:00 p.m., but even if he had stayed, he would not have been able to prevent the tragedy, since the northbound passenger train arrived at the Larissa station at 11:02 p.m. The collision with the southbound freight train took place at 11:21 p.m.
An inspector of the Greek Railways will also appear before the prosecutor’s office on Thursday. According to sources, he will file an 80-page memorandum in his defense, in which he claims to have suggested the presence of at least two station chiefs in Larissa by 11 p.m.
The station master, who made the fateful decision to steer the two trains onto one track, had a 59-year-old man on the job for just a few days after undergoing five months of training from August 2022.
He previously worked as a porter for the Greek Railways in Larissa, but in 2011 he was transferred to a local Ministry of Education office. In 2022, he applied and was accepted to be reinstated to the railway company as a trainee station master.
Now he is charged with multiple counts of negligent homicide and assault, which offenses – aggravated by endangering traffic safety – can even result in a life sentence.
Cover photo: Athanasios Gioumpasis/Getty Images