Fiumarella rail disaster
The Fiumarella viaduct
|Date||23 December 1961|
|Operator||Società per le Strade Ferrate del Mediterraneo|
|Type of incident||Derailment and fall to the valley floor|
|Cause||Derailment and rupture of the coupling|
The Fiumarella rail disaster was one of the most serious incidents in the history of the Italian railways. It occurred at about 7.45 am on 23 December 1961, at the Fiumarella viaduct, near Catanzaro, in the region of Calabria, southern Italy.
The accident occurred as the train was passing over the curved Fiumarella viaduct, about an hour after departing from Soveria Mannelli for Catanzaro at 6:43 am. The trailer derailed from the track, due to the rupture of the tram type draw hook, and plunged into the river below after a falling about 40 m (131 ft). Inside the trailer there were 99 passengers, many of them students. Seventy-one of them lost their lives on impact, and 28 others were injured to varying degrees.
The incident sparked a heated parliamentary debate, which led the Italian Government (by Law 1855 of 23 December 1963) to revoke the grant to the Mediterranea Calabro Lucane of the right to operate the line, and appoint a Managing Government Commissioner of Ferrovie Calabro Lucane. Rail traffic on the line remained disrupted for some years, and between Catanzaro and Soveria Mannelli it was temporarily replaced by road vehicles.
At Decollatura, place of origin of a substantial number of the victims, a monument was erected in memory of the fallen.
This article is based upon a translation of the Italian language version.