Dalfsen train crash


On 23 February 2016 at 8:05, in Dalfsen, Overijssel, Netherlands, a passenger train collided with a tracked elevated work platform on a level crossing resulting in the death of 1 person and injuring 6 people.

Image 1: The site of accident

Chain of incidents:

  • At 8:05 AM on 23 February 2016, an elevated work platform (hydraulic crane) was slowly crossing the railway track when a passenger train hit it. The platform had been parked on the south side of the railway line, and was to be driven to a point north of the railway where it was to be loaded onto a lorry. The crane operator waited for the first train to pass through and then made the crossing slowly. Unknown to the operator, the next train was due in six minutes, but the operator assumed that he had approximately ten minutes. This was due to the absence of any real time guidance for the operator. Another train came from the opposite direction and hit the crane head on resulting in this accident.
  • The operator tried to warn the train driver when he saw the second train on the same track and continued his attempt to complete the crossing. The train driver noticed the work platform just 175 m before collision and thus then he activated the emergency brakes but it was too late. The platform broke into 3 parts and the train driver’s cabin was damaged and he died. However the platform driver jumped out of the vehicle and sustained minor injuries only.
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Image 2: Rescue workers trying to remove the damaged train from the railway track
Image 3: Elevated platform of similar structure

Investigation and safety measures recommended

Investigations found that the elevated platform was at fault as it tried to cross when it should have waited for the 2nd train to pass by. However there existed no warning measures to alert the platform operator if it was safe/unsafe to cross the railway crossing. The Dutch Safety Board recommended that railway crossings need to be made more safe with proper warning and information systems installed . Also, it was suggested that the train drivers should be given warning about incoming obstacles so that he can escape the cabin to avoid death due to collision. Apart from this, the platform operator was also detained for questioning as he was suspected of causing death due to negligence.