Europe

Italy train crash probe looking into antiquated alert system

  • Rescuers work on the scene of a train accident after two commuter trains collided head-on near the town of Andria, in the southern region of Puglia, killing several people, Tuesday, July 12, 2016.  (AP Photo/Gaetano Lo Porto)

    Rescuers work on the scene of a train accident after two commuter trains collided head-on near the town of Andria, in the southern region of Puglia, killing several people, Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Gaetano Lo Porto)  (The Associated Press)

  • Italian firefighters search among debris at the scene of a train accident after two commuter trains collided head-on near the town of Andria, in the southern region of Puglia, killing several people, Tuesday, July 12, 2016.  (Massimo Mazzilli via AP)

    Italian firefighters search among debris at the scene of a train accident after two commuter trains collided head-on near the town of Andria, in the southern region of Puglia, killing several people, Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (Massimo Mazzilli via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • A train wagon is lifted as recovery operations continued a day after two commuter trains slammed into one another just before noon Tuesday in Puglia, between the towns of Corato and Andria, Italy, Wednesday, July 13 2016. Delayed rail improvements and the antiquated telephone alert system will be considered as part of the investigation into the violent head-on train crash in southern Italy that killed nearly two dozen people, officials said Wednesday. (Matteo Guidelli/ANSA via AP)

    A train wagon is lifted as recovery operations continued a day after two commuter trains slammed into one another just before noon Tuesday in Puglia, between the towns of Corato and Andria, Italy, Wednesday, July 13 2016. Delayed rail improvements and the antiquated telephone alert system will be considered as part of the investigation into the violent head-on train crash in southern Italy that killed nearly two dozen people, officials said Wednesday. (Matteo Guidelli/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The investigation into the violent head-on train crash in southern Italy that killed nearly two dozen people is looking in particular into the antiquated telephone alert system used to advise station masters of trains running on the single track.

Recovery operations using a giant crane and rescue dogs continued through the night and into Wednesday to remove the mangled debris of the two commuter trains that slammed into one another in the neat olive groves between the Puglian towns of Andria and Corato.

Union leaders and railway police blamed human error, noting that that particular stretch of track didn't have an automatic alert system that would engage if two trains were close by on the same track. Rather, news reports said the alert system relied on station masters phoning one another to advise of a departing train.