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The court sets the punishment for those responsible for the tragic train accident in Viareggio. How many years of imprisonment do German and Italian managers receive for the deaths of 32 people?

The court sets the punishment for those responsible for the tragic train accident in Viareggio. How many years of imprisonment do German and Italian managers receive for the deaths of 32 people?
photo: Archive / Viareggio/The court sets the punishment for those responsible for the tragic train accident in Viareggio. How many years of imprisonment do German and Italian managers receive for the deaths of 32 people?
01 / 07 / 2022

The tragic train accident that occurred on June 29, 2009, in the picturesque town of Viareggio, Italy, has had its legal conclusion. The Court of Appeals in Florence found Rainer Kogelheide, head of the German branch of GATX, and Mauro Moretti, former chief of the Italian railroads, guilty of the accident.

In July 2009, freight train No. 50325 from Trecate to Grigignano was carrying 14 tank cars. The first car on the train was registered with Polskie Koleje Państwowe and another 13 with Deutsche Bahn. The first of the Deutsche Bahn-registered cars, owned by GATX, derailed on the straight track at Viareggio station. After hitting the platform, the car tipped to the left. As a result, four more cars toppled over and subsequently crashed into the houses along the track. The last two carriages derailed but did not overturn. The remaining seven carriages did not derail and remained on the track. Two wagons were carrying liquefied gas which caused ignition and fire. As a result of this series of terrible events, 32 people died, and 26 more were injured. You can read more about it here.

More than thirty people were charged in connection with this tragedy. Mauro Moretti, former head of Italian railroads, was acquitted of manslaughter charges and defended himself against charges of neglecting investments in freight lines and prioritizing high-speed ones. Moretti argued that it was the government, not the railroad network, that prioritized investment allocation. The court sentenced him to five years in prison.

Rainer Kogelheide, head of the German branch of GATX, received the longest sentence. He was sentenced to six years in prison, and GATX had to pay a fine of EUR 480,000.

The company officials in charge of maintenance also received several years in prison. According to the court, the accident could have been caused by neglect in the technical inspection.

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