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Tragic Train Collision Strikes Greece, Station Master Arrested and Transport Minister Resigns

Darren Maung
Darren is an aspiring writer who wishes to share or create stories to the world and bring humanity together as one. A massive Star Wars nerd and history buff, he finds enjoyable, heart-warming or interesting subjects in any written media.
Published: March 1, 2023
Rail accident involving a collision between a cargo and a passenger train in the Evangelismos area of Larissa, Greece on March 1, 2023. (Image: STRINGER/SOOC/AFP via Getty Images)

On Mar. 1, two trains collided head-on near the city of Larissa, Greece. The collision resulted in the deaths of 36 people and dozens of injuries. 

The catastrophe proved so chaotic that police arrested the station master for negligence, while the country’s transport minister resigned.

Railway chaos

The crash occurred after a passenger train and a freight train collided with each other near the Vale of Tempe — a river valley north of Athens — culminating in what is said to be the worst railway disaster in Greece’s history. 

According to the Guardian, the passenger train — carrying 342 passengers and 10 staff — was traveling from Athens en route to the northern city of Thessaloniki, while the cargo train was on its way to Larissa. Many of the passengers are said to be students in their 20’s, the BBC reported.

Though the speeds of both trains are unknown, the force of the crash was said to have thrown several passengers through the windows of the train cars, AP News reported. The first four carriages were derailed, with the first two erupting in flames.

The Guardian also wrote that, of the estimated 85 injured people, 66 of them have been sent to hospitals near Larissa, with six requiring intensive care.

The BBC reported on the many survivors, who shared their terrifying accounts of the tragedy.

“We heard a big bang,” Stergios Minenis, a survivor of the crash, said, according to the BBC.

“We were turning over in the carriage until we fell on our sides and until the commotion stopped. Then there was panic. Cables, fire. The fire was immediate. As we were turning over we were being burned. Fire was right and left,” Minenis said.

“For 10, 15 seconds it was chaos. Tumbling over, fires, cables hanging, broken windows, people screaming, people trapped.”

Giannis Antonoglou, another survivor from the passenger train, told the BBC that the windows smashed and “we ended up being tilted 45 degrees as if about to tip.” Yet another survivor told Skai television that he escaped his carriage “fairly quickly,” but “in other wagons, they did not manage to get out, and one wagon even caught fire.”

Rescue and salvage efforts are being conducted to locate any trapped or missing passengers.


Police have arrested the 59-year-old station master, charging him for the deaths “through negligence and causing grievous bodily harm through negligence,” DW reported. He was supposedly in charge of signaling for the trains.

Overcome by a heavy burden, Greece’s transport minister, Kostas Karamanlis, resigned, saying that it was his “duty” to step down “as a basic indication of respect for the memory of the people who died so unfairly.”

“It’s an unspeakable tragedy,” government spokesperson Yiannis Oikonomou told reporters. “Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims, the missing and the injured.”

“We find ourselves in front of a senseless tragedy,” Greece’s president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, said in a statement. “We are mainly mourning young people.” 

The country is setting aside three days for nationwide mourning, with the president cutting short a trip to Moldova to return home. Pope Francis offered his condolences to the families of those killed in the crash.