Classification yard Kijfhoek. Photo: Flickr

Concerns over safety Dutch classification yard Kijfhoek

The main classification yard of the Netherlands, Kijfhoek, is under scrutiny after four accidents took place in less than two months. Host municipality Zwijndrecht is concerned over the safety of its inhabitants and urges infrastructure manager ProRail to replace its outdated computer system.

On 15 June a wagon carrying dangerous goods rolled down a hill, colliding with a flat wagon. The flat wagon derailed as a result. Investigation was carried out and concluded that two rail employees had not followed safety instructions. Three more accidents followed in the weeks after. In one case, a work train started moving on its own and nearly hit staff of a contractor on site.

Measures

ProRail said it has taken additional measures in response to the accidents. It paused shunting as well as maintenance operations on Wednesday evening, in order to grasp what had gone wrong. After installing additional supervision, it resumed the shunting activities on Thursday. Independent research will be carried out to look at the safety procedures, and to see if the reporting procedure of accidents onsite is sufficient.

Zwijndrecht has urged ProRail to replace its outdated computer system for the shunting process in order to eliminate human error as much as possible. ProRail has agreed to look into this, according to the municipality. Further, negotiations are ongoing to discuss the conditions for resuming maintenance activities.

Better communication

According to Zwijndrecht, the shunting activities were resumed without its consent. “The municipality is positive about the constructive way in which solutions were discussed. However, we do think that Kijfhoek should communicate more promptly, in order to gain our trust that the agreements will be respected. The safety of our inhabitants is most important”, said major of Zwijndrecht Dominic Schrijer.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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