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French Wreck Reveals Hidden Danger in Its Vaunted Train System

A derailed train car at the site of an accident at the railway station of Brétigny-sur-Orge on July 12 near Paris
A derailed train car at the site of an accident at the railway station of Brétigny-sur-Orge on July 12 near ParisPhotograph by Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

At least seven people died today in a horrific train derailment that left twisted wreckage strewn across the platform of a suburban Paris station.

The wonder is that it didn’t happen sooner. France, whose high-speed TGV rail network is famed for top-notch service and an almost-unblemished safety record, has left much of its remaining rail system in a sorry state.