Train conductor prevents more serious consequences

Passenger train collides with freight train outside of Düsseldorf

Die Unfallstelle nach dem Zugunglück bei Meerbusch.

The accident scene in Meerbusch where two trains collided.

Meerbusch. A regional train collided with a freight train in the town of Meerbusch near Düsseldorf, nearly 50 persons were reported injured. Officials are investigating the cause of the crash.

The search for the cause of the train accident with almost 50 injured in North Rhine-Westphalia's Meerbusch will take some time.  National Express Rail spokesman Marcel Winter said on Wednesday morning that he didn’t expect the affected route to be in use in the short term.  Official police and federal railway investigations have to be completed and the demolished trains removed before the route can be used again. Also, the destroyed overhead line must be repaired before the track is back in operation.

It remains unclear why the Regional Express line 7 from Cologne to Krefeld and the DB Cargo freight train on its way from Dillingen to Rotterdam collided on an open track on Tuesday evening. But National Express said it expected they would be successful in pinpointing the cause of the accident. No one was willing to speculate about why the accident occurred, noting that it was much too early in the process. 

A crane was to be brought in on Wednesday to lift the trains from the track.  Rescue workers were busy until midnight evacuating passengers from the wreck.  A ruptured overhead line, which connected the train to the electric current, made the rescue operation more difficult.  The fire department was at the scene with more than 200 rescue workers.  A spokesperson for the federal police said the most positive news was there were no life-threatening injuries. 

This is apparently also due to the reaction of the conductor of the regional train.  By slamming on the brakes, he prevented more serious consequences for the passengers and also saved his own life, according to Winter. In his conductor department at the time, he was injured during the collision.  He was rescued but was in a state of shock.  Passengers described a “big bang” and an emergency stop. According to the Meerbusch Fire Department, 155 people were on board the passenger train.  

(Orig. text: dpa / Translation: ckloep)