French train derailment likely caused by faulty rail switch: SNCF

PARIS - The derailment near Paris that left six people dead and dozens injured was likely caused by a faulty part in a rail switch, the SNCF national rail company said on Saturday.

A joint bar, a kind of steel clip that links two rails on a switch, "broke away, it became detached and came out of its housing," said Pierre Izard, the SNCF's general manager for infrastructure.

The detached joint "lodged itself at the centre of the switch, prevented the normal progression of the train's wheels and seems to have caused the train's derailment," he said.

The company said it was ordering checks of some 5,000 similar parts on its network.

SNCF chief Guillaume Pepy said the "detachment of this joint bar" was the focus of investigations into the accident.

"We have decided to check equipment of this nature on the entire network and are starting now," Pepy said.