Monday, January 31, 2011

Freight Train Driver To Be Questioned Over Crash

Human Error is Primary Suspect in Fatal Accident
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – Saturday’s fatal train crash near Hordorf in Saxony-Anhalt occurred on a single track section in thick fog according to local reports. Shortly after the Veolia owned passenger train left Magdeburg station it collided head on with the freight train believed to be operated by a subsidiary of steel giant Salzgitter, CPS, leaving the driver and nine of his passengers dead.

The collision was so violent that it threw the passenger train off the tracks and so far it has not been possible to identify eight of the deceased. Trains using Germany’s mainline system are stopped automatically if they ignore a signal however a speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour on this track meant only manual safety systems were required.

The engineer in charge of the freight train with its cargo of chalk was amongst the 23 injured and has not yet been able to give a statement but having inspected the track systems investigators believe one of the drivers may have inadvertently passed a stop signal. The accident was Germany’s worst since a monorail crash in 2006 killed 23.