No trains between Leiden – The Hague for at least a week after fatal crash; 9 hospitalized

Train traffic between Leiden and The Hague will be curtailed until at least April 11 due to a dramatic accident on the railroad, Dutch national railway NS predicted. The fatal crash on Tuesday left one person dead, and 30 others injured, nine of whom were still hospitalized Tuesday night including three in intensive care. The investigation into the crash has so far shown that a crane used for track maintenance during the overnight period was first struck by a DB Cargo freight train, before a NS passenger train hit the crane and derailed.

The repair work on the railroad and the Voorschoten station will take at least another week as a result of the crash during the early morning hours on Tuesday. The NS will use a replacement bus service, adding about 30 minutes of travel time to passenger journeys.

A recovery company has been called in to remove the trains. The NS said this will happen as soon as investigators release the train tracks. Because some trains are lying across a ditch, a bridge structure must first be built. This process will begin on Wednesday, and the NS said it expects it will take several days. A total of four train cars must be salvaged. In addition, the platform at the Voorschoten station, which was damaged in the train accident, will also be repaired.

The accident killed the 65-year-old crane operator, who was employed by construction company BAM. The crane operator, from Beringe, Limburg, was working on the track at the time. His body was recovered late Tuesday afternoon.

Thus far, 30 of the 50 train passengers were known to have been injured in the incident. The passenger train driver was also injured. He was hospitalized with broken bones, NS director Wouter Koolmees previously said. The cargo train driver was not physically injured.

Nine still hospitalized, including three in “very serious” condition

A total of 19 injured people were taken to a hospital after the 4:30 a.m. accident. Three of them remained in intensive care, listed as in “very serious but stable” condition, according to a spokesperson for the regional acute care association ROAZ. The three were admitted to the two trauma centers in the region where they underwent surgery.

Two of them were brought to the Leiden University Medical Center, and the third wend to HMC Westeinde in The Hague. “They all arrived quite quickly after the incident,” said the spokesperson.

Of the five patients who were admitted to the Alrijne Hospital in Leiderdorp, four have since been released. The spokesperson had no information about the condition of the other. A second victim who was taken to HMC Westeinde was also allowed to leave the hospital.

Ten injured people were taken to the emergency hospital that was scaled up in a partnership with UMC Utrecht. Five of them were allowed to go home in the morning, the others were transferred to regular departments of the UMC Utrecht.

Freight train knocked crane into NS train

Thus far, the investigation has shown that the DB freight train first collided with the construction crane at Voorschoten, said State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen (Infrastructure) in a letter to the Tweede Kamer. The other train involved in the accident, the NS Intercity train, subsequently derailed because the crane or debris from the crane ended up on the track. As a result, portions of the NS train stretched across a drainage ditch and partially ended up in the meadow next to it.

Heijnen confirmed that the track involved in repair work was not in use at the time, but was located next to the track still being used by rail traffic. In total, work was being carried out on two of the four available tracks, rail manager ProRail said earlier Tuesday.

King Willem-Alexander joined Heijnen, Koolmees and ProRail CEO John Voppen during a visit to the crash site. The king called it a terrible incident, and said he thinks that the aid workers have done “fantastic” work.

King praises aid workers, local residents during Voorschoten visit

The king briefly joined a meeting held in an emergency office set up in a sea container. There, he spoke with the mayor of Voorschoten and emergency services workers about the accident. He then walked along the track to see the train wreckage with his own eyes. He also spoke to a local resident who joined rescue efforts shortly after the train collision.

Willem-Alexander thanked him for taking care of victims and praised the assistance. “I am incredibly happy to see how quickly all the injured were taken to hospitals. I think we should be grateful to everyone for standing by in the middle of the night.”

According to Willem-Alexander, the accident “could have ended much worse” and he was shocked by the havoc. “It shuts you up.” He also called for experts to continue with their work, and asked people not to speculate about who is to blame for the train crash.

ImageKing Willem-Alexander flanked by NS director Wouter Koolmees, State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen and ProRail CEO John Voppen at the scene of a fatal train accident in Voorschoten. 4 April 2023 King Willem-Alexander flanked by NS director Wouter Koolmees, State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen and ProRail CEO John Voppen at the scene of a fatal train accident in Voorschoten. 4 April 2023 – Credit: ProRail / ProRail – License: All Rights Reserved

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