The Brandizzo massacre was caused by a common practice: starting work early, because everyone follows this custom. This happens because maintenance operations can only be performed when they do not cause inconvenience to passengers, i.e. after 10.00pm and during weekends. However, the workers’ contract stipulates only two night shifts a week. This rule is constantly circumvented through the voluntary call-up of workers. In the meantime, Antonio Massa, the RFI manager for site safety, is under investigation for a railway disaster and multiple homicide with possible fraud. Massa has recently received threats and shut down his social media profiles, but has yet to name a defense attorney. A lawyer has been appointed for him. The investigations The prosecutors Valentina Bossi and Giulia Nicodemo called the former Si.gi.fer worker as a witness. of Borgo Vercelli, Antonio Veneziano. He has already given details to the media about the practice that was in place at the company, explaining: “It was common to start work early, especially when we knew a train was delayed. On many occasions when I worked there (at Si.gi.fer), when we knew a train was late, we anticipated the start of work. In other words, when we had to make an adjustment, such as narrowing of the track, which required the intervention of a train scheduled at an incorrect time, we started the works. We unscrewed the bolts, which are the fastening devices of the rails to the wooden sleepers. Subsequently, just before the passage of the convoys, we were removed from the track. Usually, we were six or seven people in each group, but in these situations, there was always someone watching over the situation. However, on the recent tragic night, the situation was different, as everyone was on the embankment.” Working hours not respected: how they worked Other colleagues also confirmed the practice in use to the newspaper La Stampa, declaring: “We know that we start to work when the boss tells us verbally that we can do it, and this does not happen when a formal document arrives , but when the trains stopped running. This is a common behavior among all of us.” Now the investigation will have to determine whether the managers of Rete Ferroviaria Italiana were aware of this practice. The legal officer in charge of assisting Massa is called Antonio Raucci, but so far he hasn’t been able to get in touch with his client, as Massa hasn’t answered his phone calls. The foreman, Andrea Girardin Gibin, 52, is also under investigation for the same crimes. Today a demonstration will be organized in Vercelli to remember Michael Zanera, 34 years old, Giuseppe Sorvillo, 43 years old, Saverio Giuseppe Lombardo, 52 years old, Giuseppe Aversa, 49 years old, and Kevin Laganà, 22 years old. Today La Stampa also collected the testimonies of the workers of the maintenance companies of the Italian Railway Network (Rfi). According to the contract, the workers must guarantee the company a maximum of two nights of night work per week, and any third nights must be agreed between the parties (MSW and company). Also, no more than ten nights can be scheduled per month. However, Filt CGIL maintains that this rule is constantly being circumvented through voluntary call-ups. In the case of night work, it starts at 8 in the morning and resumes at 1 pm, to then continue at 10 pm, in violation of the law which requires a minimum of 11 hours of rest between shifts. Furthermore, subcontracting is described as a ‘jungle’ with frequent errors. A Piedmontese maintainer of Rfi, who preferred to remain anonymous, recounted an incident that occurred twenty days earlier, when a station master, who had been working for a short time, authorized the circulation of trains without making sure that the company had actually completed the work on the tracks and that there was no one else present. The accident: the phone call for authorization and the mistake According to the indictment, Girardin Gibin’s responsibility lies in the fact that he let his workers get off the tracks without first obtaining the necessary authorization sheet. In the case of Antonio Massa, however, the main evidence is the phone calls made that evening. The calls begin around 11.30 pm, when Massa asks for authorization from the Chivasso movement center: first one call, then a second. At the time of the request, Massa only has guesses about the working windows, based on the expected train times. From the Chivasso plant, he receives an initial refusal and a recommendation to postpone the intervention, saying that “a train still has to pass”. The central question is which train was actually passing. Three trains were scheduled: the last of the line, one intended to carry wagons from Alessandria to Turin and a third scheduled for about 1:30. At 11.30 pm, the first train had already completed its journey. The second was late, but it is not clear whether Massa confused this train with the previous one. This confusion leads to the accident, as Massa and the foreman together with five workers descend onto the tracks at a time when the passage of trains was not adequately coordinated with their presence. From the plant, Massa receives further instructions which indicate two time windows during which he can carry out the work: between the second and the third train, or after the third train. Furthermore, he is reiterated to remain still. A third phone call records the explosion and the sound of braking, marking the tragic moment in which the massacre took place. There have been two more calls since, but these contain nothing but Massa’s screams of despair as he tries to describe the situation. The reconstruction of the events is based on the recordings of the phone calls, which are then compared with the times in which the station cameras record the presence of the workers on the platforms. In this case, there was no red light system to stop the trains, as they were not intended to stop. Furthermore, the safety devices on the line were present, but it seems that they have not activated the light signals that should have signaled the work in progress. It is not clear when it was mandatory to use them. However, the failure of these devices is a critical element in the chain of events that led to the tragedy.