Note-taking from Dalfsen Train Accident

In Commission Regulation No. 1078/2012, it is stated that level crossing accidents mean any accident at level crossings involving at least one railway vehicle and one or more crossing vehicles, other crossing users such as pedestrians or other objects temporarily present on or near the track if lost by a crossing vehicle or user. There are currently about 120.000 level crossings in the EU. Hence, on average there are five level crossings per 10 line-km in the EU; half of them are active level crossings with some sort of user-side warning. The remainder is passive level crossings typically only equipped with the St. Andrew’s cross traffic sign.

Dalfsen train crash happened on February 23, 2016, in Dalfsen resulted in the death of the driver of the train. This horrible accident is one of the Level Crossing Accidents. A passenger train collided with a slow-moving platform at a level crossing in Dalfsen, Overijssel, Netherlands. It is reported that the crane from company Van den Brink in Barneveld, was slowly crossing the line when it was hit by the train. It had waited at the crossing while one train passed, but then started to cross and was hit by a second train. For more further details of the accident can be seen in .

The train involved was a Spurt GTW 2/8 train, travelling from Zwolle to Coevorden. All four vehicles were derailed. One person was killed; the driver of the train. There were fifteen passengers on board the train. Six of the survivors were injured, one person sustaining serious injuries. The train driver would only have realized that the crossing was obstructed at a distance of 175 meters (191 yards), but the train would have required a distance of 800 metres (870 yards) to stop at the speed it was travelling at (140 kilometres per hour (87 mph). On the other hands, The man who drove the elevated work platform thought there were about four trains in the hour to cross the Ommen-Dalfsen level crossing. However, there were eight trains per hour due to rush hour. Hence, it means he had no 15 minutes, but only five minutes and ten seconds to cross the level crossing.

Although, the driver then get punished to a 100-hour task force because of his negligence. It is only in a minority of cases that the accident can be attributed solely to the road user. Mostly the underlying causes were related to the technical equipment or the layout of the level crossing. If identified, root causes were pointing to insufficiencies in the safety management systems of infrastructure managers and the framework of rules and regulations.

Learning from the above case, the variable message warning signs can come into play. Besides providing real-time data to warn railway operators and train drivers about potential obstacles on the tracks and malfunctioning equipment, smart level crossings are also deploying LED variable message signs to display important information about approaching trains so vehicle drivers and pedestrians can make better decisions on the spot. For example, if only the convicted driver knew that a speeding train will arrive at the intersection in less than 2 minutes, he may think twice before trying to “run” the crossing. The accident will not ever have happened.

As a result, “smart” warning signs should also provide real-time status updates about an approaching train to help drivers and pedestrians answer the following questions:  How much time before the train reaches the level crossing? Which direction is the train coming from? What is the speed of the train? How far away is the train?

The smart vehicle, smart user and smart infrastructure will lead us to decrease the number of pedestrian-train collisions and to employ intelligent transportation systems to improve safety at level crossings and make them smarter. Smartphones and smart watches are increasingly using by people and they can be used to aware them from the danger of hit and help to reduce collisions, death and injuries. (Author : Denny Hariadi Simanjuntak)