Dutch rail accident: ProRail says the freight train was on the right track
The dynamic of the tragic accident that shook the Netherlands on the night of Tuesday, 4 April, is still quite unclear. What is known so far is that the DB Cargo Nederland convoy was the first to collide with a crane. However, as ProRail CEO John Voppen said, the freight train was likely driving on the right track. According to NS, the rail line where the accident occurred will be closed at least until Tuesday, 11 April.
The debris caused by this impact landed on the track where the passenger train was running, causing its derailment. Voppen made these claims at the Dutch talk show Op1, as De Telegraaf reported. On the other hand, he stressed that research and investigations are still being carried out and that they might lead to new conclusions. As the Dutch newspaper highlighted, works were being carried out on two of the four tracks at the site of the accident.
One dead, several injured
The accident involving a DB Cargo Nederland freight train and an NS passenger train resulted in one death and several injuries in Vooschoten, in the western Netherlands. The victim is an employee of the Dutch construction company BAM who was on the crane carrying out construction work on the track section where the accident took place. Drivers from both trains were taken to the hospital. The freight train’s driver was not harmed, while the passenger train’s driver suffered bone fractures.
The accident occurred around 3:30 am on Tuesday, 4 April. “Train 47612 from Kijfhoek to Beverwijk collided with a vehicle near Voorschoten”, DB Cargo Nederland confirmed. Both the locomotive and the 26 wagons making up the convoy were damaged but did not derail. Some of the injured were in bad shape, with 19 people transferred to the hospital.
Criminal investigation underway
An investigation is being launched into the train accident under the leadership of the Public Prosecution Service. In addition, during a press conference, the Dutch authorities mentioned that they will also examine whether criminal offences have been committed. The cause of the accident is not yet clear and is being investigated, including by the Dutch Safety Board (OVV), the ILT (Environment and Transport Inspectorate) and the police. ProRail itself also started an investigation
Hans Zuidijk of the Hollands Midden Safety Region says it was dark, which caused a chaotic situation immediately after the train accident. “The overhead line was broken. There was a fire and a ditch had to be crossed to get to the location.” Because the overhead line had broken, the situation had to be secured first. “All emergency services were on site within an hour,” said the spokesman.
As reported by NOS, two of the carriages of the passenger train fell over and are lying next to the tracks, while one caught fire and has already been put out. Director of rail infrastructure manager ProRail John Voppen called this Tuesday 4 April “a black day for the Dutch railways”. “My thoughts are with everyone involved. We will of course investigate how this could have happened”. Italy, via its Ministry of Transport Matteo Salvini, claimed that the country is ready to provide support to the Netherlands in the aftermath of this accident.