Germany - Speeding train disaster; driver says he received "wrong signal" : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

(Accident could be Y2k-computer chip related because train driver states he received wrong signal. Awaiting further updates)

Bruehl Train Disaster Damage Exceeds 50 Million Marks

German News, February 11th 2000

84-Ton Engine Recovered / Driver Says: "Received Wrong Signal"

Bruehl/Cologne - 10 February (rpo.) Even four days after the Bruehl train crash, the exact cause of the accident remains a mystery. The insurance damage of the crash, which cost the lives of eight people, amounts to more than 50 million marks, according to the Cologne-based insurance company "Koelnische Rueck". Most of the damage falls to third party liability insurance, the company reported. German Rail has not yet calculated its damage. Next to Bruehl Station, the recovery operation on the 84-ton engine, which had fallen down a slope and crashed into a private house, resumed.

According to public prosecutor Appendrodt, the prosecution has now opened an investigation against the 28 year-old train driver concerning second degree manslaughter and inflicting grievous bodily harm. The prosecutor said there was no evidence of anyone else responsible apart from the driver. Still, he added, the investigation would take all possible causes into account.

The train driver, who has been driving engines for the Cologne Harbor and Goods Service (HGK) for the past five years, is only willing to communicate via his lawyer. A report according to which the drivers claims to have received a wrong signal, which had allowed him a speed of 122 kilometers, was rejected by the chief prosecutor. "It would have been fatal to use switchable signals."

Meanwhile, the recovery operation at Bruehl Station is almost completed. The last part of the train to be recovered, the 84-ton engine, was lifted by two large cranes and put on steel plates on Thursday afternoon. The idea is to lift the engine back onto the tracks and move it to its factory for repair.

German News proudly presented by, Volume 02 - Edition 200


(Earlier report from German News)

Bruehl Train Crash: Driver's Fault?

Recovery of Engine Difficult

Bruehl - 07/08 February (rpo.)

The recovery of the train wreck in the Rhenish town of Bruehl will be completed by Tuesday afternoon. "We have already recovered 70 percent of the wreck," German Rail spokesman Manfred Ziegerath told the press Tuesday morning. Only the train's engine was posing difficulties: The engine had crashed directly into a private house near the station. Possibly, it has to be dismantled completely. It will take several days before the regular train schedule between Frankfurt and Cologne can resume. Parts of the Bruehl Station platform have been destroyed. No further bodies were found during the recovery operation.

Early Sunday morning, a speed train from Amsterdam to Basel had crashed into Bruehl Station, killing eight passengers and injuring 149, 46 of them seriously. One of the passengers is still in critical condition. The train had just passed a part of the line where there have been extensive repairs, when it was derailed. Several carriages crashed into Bruehl Station, the engine itself raced down a slope and crashed into a private home. Luckily, all occupants had been sleeping, and none of them was hurt.

Meanwhile, there are different reports about the cause of the accident, most of them pointing towards human error. German Rail speaker Zigerath said: "Ten other trains had passed the railworks before, with no problem whatsoever." There had been clear signals for the train drivers to take that switch slowly, indicating a maximum speed of 40 kilometers. "That signal is legally binding," Ziegerath added. It turns out the crash train had been running at 120 kilometers, way too much to pass the switch safely. Nobody knows why the train had been so fast, as the train driver is in a state of shock and cannot be questioned. Most of the eight victims had been aboard the sleepers.

Three of the victims have been identified: one woman and two men, all three German. The five remaining victims have yet to be identified, as their limbs were spread throughout the wreck. The driver was uninjured, but is now confined to a hospital. North Rhine Westfalia's Minister President Wolfgang Clement (SPD) and Federal Transportation Minister Reinhard Klimmt (SPD) visited the scene the morning after the crash, expressing their condolences to the victim's surviving dependants.

February 08th 2000, Volume 02 - Edition 199

-- Lee Maloney (, February 13, 2000

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