Ignored stop signal?: Czech Republic train crash kills many

A large number of rescue workers, including firefighters, paramedics and doctors, as well as two rescue helicopters rushed to the scene of the accident, about 120 kilometers east of Prague. Czech television footage showed at least one wagon derailed. Firefighter Pavel Per told reporters at the scene that the first car was wrecked, making the rescue difficult. This made it very difficult to reach the injured.

According to current findings, the locomotives of the two trains collided head-on for reasons that are still unclear. It is not clear whether the freight train was stationary or moving at the time of the accident.

AP/Fire Department of Partubis Region

A large number of emergency services are present at the scene of an accident

Apart from Interior Minister Ragusan, Transport Minister Martin Kupka also rushed to the scene of the accident. Kupka said it was too early to comment on the suspected cause of the crash. The investigation was ongoing.

300 passengers on board

The night express train, operated by private railway company Regiojet, was traveling from Prague to Kosice in Slovakia and had only been traveling for an hour when the accident occurred. The fire department said there were more than 300 passengers.

Many Ukrainians use the link Saab in the west of Ukraine to travel to their home country via Slovakia. The uninjured passengers were taken by bus to an emergency facility.

Large-scale operation in the event of a train accident in the Czech Republic

At least 4 dead in Czech Republic train crash A fully occupied Night Express collided with a freight train en route from Prague to Kosice, Slovakia. Many emergency services were suspended.

The cause of the accident is still unclear

According to media reports, the driver of the express train may have missed the stop signal or the switch may have been set incorrectly. “Although the green signal was on, I thought the train was going on the wrong track,” an eyewitness told the “Bravo” newspaper: “Suddenly there was a bang and the train stopped.”

The sound of the two trains colliding was heard a short distance away. “The collision woke us up and my wife thought a house had collapsed in the neighborhood,” a resident told iDnes news website.

Rescue workers in Pardubice

AP/Fire Department of Partubis Region

A possible cause of the accident was an overlooked stop signal

The shutdown ended in May

According to preliminary information, the freight train was loaded with a chemical called calcium carbide, but the first two cars were empty for safety reasons. The accident occurred at the new Partubis Center stop, which was only completed in May.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala expressed his condolences to the relatives of the deceased through the online platform X ́ (Twitter). “The collision of two trains at Pardubice was a great accident,” he wrote. “We are all thinking of the victims and the injured.”

Dilapidated railway infrastructure

The worst train accident in the Czech Republic to date occurred in 1960 at Budupys. Around that time, 118 people died when two passenger trains collided head-on in the north of the city. Around 100 others were injured.

In recent years, the Czech Republic has experienced repeated serious train accidents. In August 2021, an express train collided head-on with a passenger train on a single track between Plzen and Furth im Wald – killing three people, including two train drivers. In July 2020, two trains collided head-on on the line from Karlovy Vary to Johanjorgenstadt, killing two people.

According to experts, the railway infrastructure in the EU member state needs an overhaul. The government has decided to install ETCS, a modern European train control system, on the entire route network by 2025. It is already available on about 1,100 kilometers of train, but so far only 700 vehicles can use it because it needs to be replaced.

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