NS train ran red light in peak-hour rail collision
22 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — The intercity train that collided with a goods train at Roosendaal last September ran a red light, the Traffic and Public Works Inspectorate (IVW) said on Friday. The collision occurred at 6pm and left 45 people injured. The intercity, with 650 passengers, collided head-on with a Belgian freight train.
22 April 2005
AMSTERDAM — The intercity train that collided with a goods train at Roosendaal last September ran a red light, the Traffic and Public Works Inspectorate (IVW) said on Friday.
The collision occurred at 6pm and left 45 people injured. The intercity, with 650 passengers, collided head-on with a Belgian freight train.
The IVW said the driver of the double-decker intercity, operated by Dutch rail NS, could not easily see the red light. He also thought he had a clear run when departing from Roosendaal Central Station.
The driver did not see a low-hanging signal on the top of the platform when departing for Bergen op Zoom. That light was yellow, indicating that the train had to stop at the following signal.
But the driver missed the second signal, which was red. He was too busy keeping an eye on the track itself, resulting in the intercity coming onto the same track as freight train.
There is rising concern about the number of trains running red lights. Figures have indicated that 352 trains ran red lights last year compared with 281 in 2003.
Trains also frequently travel on the same tracks at stations. A special signalling system is designed to prevent collisions.
This allows the NS to let trains depart on time even if there is another train on the same track. Good punctuality is of "essential financial importance" to the rail operator, the IVW said.
The NS wants to end the practice, but still urges drivers and conductors to ensure their trains depart on time.
The inspectorate said personnel are aware of the rail operator's demands, but the impact this had on the accident at Roosendaal could not be determined.
Trade union FNV Bondgenoten has previously called for an investigation into the system of track sharing. It said safety should remain top priority.
The collision at Roosendaal came after a crash at Amsterdam Central Station in May 2004 in which 20 people were injured as an intercity and a shunting double-decker train collided.
Investigations revealed that the double-decker train on that occasion also ran a red light.
Criticism has been directed towards the automatic train warning system (ATB), which does not stop a train running a red light if its moving at less than 40km/h.
Transport Minister Karla Peijs has promised to upgrade the ATB system.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news