DB Cargo must pay 7,500 fine for 2015 collision in the Netherlands

Rail freight carrier DB Cargo has to pay a fine of 7,500 euros because it is partly to blame for the train collision at the Dutch Tilburg station on Friday 6 March 2015. According to the court, the rail carrier committed a serious error by reporting a train length that was too short. This created a dangerous situation for train traffic.

The train length is, according to the judge, essential for “conflict-free planning and thus railway safety”. “The potential danger has also materialised. There has actually been a collision between this freight train and a passenger train. Because the freight train was longer than communicated, the train was scheduled on a track that was too short, so that the rear part of the train prevented the switch for the passenger train in question from being set correctly. ” According to the judge, this led to the passenger train colliding with the freight train.

Train collision

In the train collision in Tilburg, eight occupants, including the conductor of the slow train, were injured. In total there were 40 people in the passenger train. The train driver of the freight train was unharmed. Due to the salvage work, no train traffic was possible between Tilburg and Tilburg University for a large part of the weekend.

The court ruled that the collision was not solely attributable to DB Cargo. The driver of the NS train did not notice the red signal and passed it. As a result, the passenger train collided with the rear of the stationary freight train via a switch. The rear wagon that was hit was a tank wagon containing the hazardous substance Butadiene. Because this car was damaged, gas could escape. As a result, two officers became intoxicated.

According to the judge, these events indicate that “the train collision was caused by a chain of different events and possible causes”. “Without the one the other would not have happened”, it was concluded. Due to personal circumstances, the case against the train driver is taken out of court.

Work processes

The court also ruled that the work processes of DB Cargo “clearly not sufficiently set up to prevent such mistakes and thus guarantee safety on the railway”. The rail freight operator has thus “taken an irresponsible risk”. The court blames DB Cargo for this.

DB Cargo’s mistake is seen as “one of the links in a chain of events” that ultimately led to the train accident. “There has been a“ domino effect ”, said the judge. DB Cargo is not the only party to blame for causing the accident.

The danger that has actually arisen has remained relatively limited. According to the judge, that “does not alter the fact that a much greater danger could have occurred”. “For example, it is not inconceivable that more of the combustible gas would have leaked out and this could have caused an explosion.”

Author: Marieke van Gompel

Marieke van Gompel is editor of RailFreight.com and chief editor of the ProMedia Group online magazines.

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