It's an spectacular image: a lightning striking a train in Tokyo last Monday. There were no victims but it's perfect summary of the terrible month suffered by trains all over the world. In total, there were 10 accidents, 149 dead, 450 injured. What the hell happened?
2013 was being a calm year until July came.
Some of the accidents were really terrible, like the July 6 derailment in Canada, when a freight train containing 72 tanks of oil derails near Lac-Mégantic killing 42 and destroying 30 buildings. The same day, 14 died in Pakistan in a level crossing collision. And the next day another derailment happened in Russia, where 70 were injured.
Above: the aftermath of the Lac-Mégantic derailment.
Less than a week later, on July 12, two accidents happened at more or less the same time in France: one passenger train derailed and crashed against a station platform just outside Paris, killing six and injuring 200. The other accident could have been the worst of them all, as a freight train carrying nuclear waste derailed in western France. Miraculously, nothing happened this time.
But only ten days later, two crashes happen within three days. The first on July 21 was a minor collision in Norwich, United Kingdom, but the other one was a horrible derailment of a high speed train in northwest Spain. The train crashed at 118mph (190km/h) on a curve, killing 79 and injuring 140.
Above: One of the cars in the Spanish derailment (AP Images)
Only one day after that, another train overruns a closed track, killing two. And four days later, one person dies and 40 are injured in another train collision in the west of Switzerland.
While July 2013 hasn't been the worst month in train history, is certainly there at the very top.