Freight train that hit crane first was likely on right track, ProRail CEO says

The freight train that collided first into a construction crane at Voorschoten on Tuesday was probably traveling on the right track that was not closed for maintenance, ProRail CEO John Voppen said on talk show Op1. Voppen, however, emphasized that he is awaiting the results of further investigation. “I’m cautious about that,” he said. “After investigation, you sometimes see things are different.”

Several parties are investigating the cause of the accident. The crash happened around 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday when planned maintenance work was happening. After the collision between the freight train and the crane, an intercity train derailed because the crane or some of its parts ended up on the track. ProRail was working on two of the four tracks. The accident killed one person, an employee of the construction company BAM. The crane also belonged to BAM. The freight train also got damaged in the crash but did not derail.

According to the ProRail CEO, many measures are taken during rail works to prevent accidents. “It still happened, so we have to investigate,” Voppen said on Op1. He previously spoke of a “black day for the Dutch railway.”

Trade association railAlert awaits the conclusions of the investigations into the rail accident, which may clarify the exact circumstances. “We are closely following these investigations and, if necessary, will make every effort to determine which measures are appropriate for the rail infrastructure sector to prevent a recurrence. At this stage, it is still too early to make any statements about this,” the organization said.

RailAlert was founded in 2006 due to an increasing number of accidents. The foundation’s primary goal is to contribute to “a safe and healthy working environment for everyone who works on the Dutch railway.”

Several organizations are investigating the accident. The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) reported that it would secure all available facts and other information. The ILT is also coordinating and facilitating the activities of the various investigative pirates involved. “In this specific case, this includes the police, the Labor Inspectorate, the OVV (Dutch Safety Board), ProRail, NS, DB Cargo, and possibly also BAM.”

The ILT also reported that it could take enforcement action as a supervisor and, if necessary, can take measures or have them taken if it appears that such an incident could occur elsewhere or again. According to Voppen of ProRail, there are currently no reasons to halt work elsewhere on the track.

Reporting by ANP

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