Fatal Train Crash In Belgium (5th June)

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SpacePhoenix

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Reports on the news that a passenger train has crashed into the back of a freight train. Currently reported as 3 dead and 40 injured.

From: http://news.sky.com/story/1707447/three-killed-in-belgium-train-crash

Three people have been killed and another 40 wounded when a passenger train crashed into the back of a freight train in eastern Belgium.

Belgian railways SNCB said in a statement that the train was carrying around 40 people when the crash took place near the city of Liege.

Two of the six passenger train's carriages were derailed, the statement added.

Local emergency services and reinforcements are at the crash site.
 
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WatcherZero

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Reported the passenger train travelling at 55mph rear ended the freight train on the same stretch of track. Two carriages derailed.
 

SpacePhoenix

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Looking at the picture on the Daily Star website, looks like this 50°33'39.95" N 5°20'37.48" E could possibly be the location
 

HLE

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There's been a few crashes recently in Europe. Knowing very little about other EU countries'signalling systems, do Belgium use ETCS? Do Germany? (I remember hearing it might have been signaller error but could be wrong).

Our signalling system and safety systems may not be the most high tech, but after crashes like this I do begin to question the benefits of ETRMS, ETCS, and in a small way am grateful that our railways are, on the face of it, much safer for it.

As I understand it, it is a requirement of being in the EU to implement ETCS universally across Europe. I might be completely wrong in that so correct me if I am.

If we leave Europe, can we keep our safer railway the way it is?
 

duesselmartin

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SPADs are / were not that uncommon in the UK, and the amount of derailments in the 1990s was rather impressive too. Neither Britains AWS nor Belgiums Crocodile safety system are the best either.
 
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The Belgian press this morning reporting that the cause is unclear, although the apparently the signalling in the area failed about two hours before the collision. Of an estimated 40 people on the trains, 3 are known dead and about 9 injured some seriously, so it was obviously another very serious collision. All signalling in Belgium was upgraded following a SPAD-collision and is the equivalent of TPWS+.
 

Quakkerillo

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Does Belgium have an equivalent of TPWS?

There are the 'crocodile' systems installed to warn drivers of upcoming signals and speed restrictions.
Further there's TBL 1+ installed to automatically stop trains if they go >40km/h (25mph) when approaching a red signal.
 

theageofthetra

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Saw an early report today that there had been a lighning strike in the area and that there had been a loss of signalling. If they were operating under degraded working rules how do SNCB's rules compare to ours for robustness? Whatever the outcome I hope the Flemish/French language issue doesn't raise its ugly head again.
 

AlexNL

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In Belgium, there are a couple of systems.

MEMOR / Crocodile: comparable to AWS. Drivers are alerted of signals showing a 'caution' aspect, as well as speed restrictions. Drivers have to confirm having seen the signal within a couple of seconds after passing the beacon (which looks like a crocodile's back).

TBL1+: Installed nationwide after the heavy crash at Buizingen (near Brussels), this system can be compared to an upgraded version of AWS/MEMOR. Drivers have to confirm passing caution signals, when approaching signals showing danger the system will ensure that the train comes to a stop.

TVM-430: installed on high speed line 1 between Brussels and Paris

TBL 2: another train control system, similar to TVM430, which is installed on HSL2 between Leuven and Liège.

ETCS: nationwide rollout is underway. The system is operational on HSL 3 (Liège - German border) and HSL 4 (Antwerp - Netherlands) as well as various other lines such as Antwerp - Brussels, lines in the Ardennes, and so on.


On line 125, ETCS is not installed. Train protection is provided by MEMOR and/or TBL1+, depending on the hardware on-board the trains. The AM96 EMU's should be fitted with TBL1+.

The freight train was standing still, waiting for a signal to clear.
 

LAX54

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SPADs are / were not that uncommon in the UK, and the amount of derailments in the 1990s was rather impressive too. Neither Britains AWS nor Belgiums Crocodile safety system are the best either.

But of course although the UK still has AWS, TPWS and TPWS+ is now the norm, and very effective, I do not think there have been any collisions arising from a SPAD where TPWS is in force.
When TPWS fails on a signal it also holds the signal(s) in rear at red, requiring a caution and passing the signal at red.
 

Scott M

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For all these flashy high speed international rail systems get lauded on forums like these, we always seem to come up tops in the one thing that really matters: safety.

Thoughts go out to all those involved.
 

2HAP

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The freight train was standing still, waiting for a signal to clear.

Or maybe it had cleared, as the freight is reported to have been doing 10-15 km/h when the passenger train ran into the rear at 90 or 100 km/h. The EMUs involved were two Class AM96s. Unit 461 at the rear. Does anyone know the other unit involved?
 

anme

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For all these flashy high speed international rail systems get lauded on forums like these, we always seem to come up tops in the one thing that really matters: safety.

Statistics please.

Also, as you would know if you had read the posts above, this was not a "flashy high speed international rail" line.
 

dgl

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A modern system such as ERTMS, ATP or TVM will stop a train before it passes the signal, bog standard aws and with the similar system in Belgium cannot. So these modern European signalling systems are better. In 99% of cases they will not allow you to pass a signal at danger and in degraded working modes restrict the speed to about 15-20 mph
 

edwin_m

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Statistics please.

Also, as you would know if you had read the posts above, this was not a "flashy high speed international rail" line.

See page 13 and 14 of the link below. UK is currently second behind Ireland out of 28 European countries.

http://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/19185/rail-safety-statistics-2014-15.pdf

As far as I know there have still been no passenger fatalities on high speed lines in Europe, due to design measures including the provision of ATP functionality, no level crossings and a high standard of fencing. Before someone points it out, yes there have been passenger fatalities on a high speed line in China, just off the end of a high speed line in Spain and to railway personnel and their relatives on what should have been a non-passenger test train in France.
 
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30907

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There's been a few crashes recently in Europe. Knowing very little about other EU countries'signalling systems, do Belgium use ETCS? Do Germany? (I remember hearing it might have been signaller error but could be wrong).

Our signalling system and safety systems may not be the most high tech, but after crashes like this I do begin to question the benefits of ETRMS, ETCS, and in a small way am grateful that our railways are, on the face of it, much safer for it.

As I understand it, it is a requirement of being in the EU to implement ETCS universally across Europe. I might be completely wrong in that so correct me if I am.

If we leave Europe, can we keep our safer railway the way it is?

As no-one has directly answered the point: hardly any of the European network is equipped with ETCS even at Level 1, and certainly not either of the lines you refer to. AlexNL has given the relevant info for Belgium.
 

Quakkerillo

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Also in Dutch http://www.demorgen.be/binnenland/-...wel-aanbesteed-maar-niet-uitgevoerd-b716ffba/

Which makes it a bit easier for me to explain

The signal should've been equipped with TBL-1+. There was a tender for it, and it was budgetted, but it had never happened. It was given to a contractor who was so successful, they got too many orders to cope with. The works were supposed to start in September 2015, but didn't happen. Now, the government may look into the tender process for this as they found there might have been 'irregularities'.
 

MarkyT

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Apparently the signals involved in the accident weren't equipped with TBL1+:
http://fr.metrotime.be/2016/06/08/n...etait-pas-equipe-du-systeme-de-securite-tbl1/ (in French)

Tragic. Infrabel, the Belgian infrastructure operator, states that 99.9% of the network is fitted with the TBL1+ system. I assume by this mean that 99.9% of individual signals are equipped, so the accident must have happened at one of presumably only a very few sites remaining unfitted, perhaps because the project is not entirely complete, or the local equipment had been rendered dysfunctional for some reason at the time.

The incident also shows the danger of simple rear end collisions, a risk remaining in UK, usually not protected against at all by TPWS. That system is mostly deployed around junctions, and has been a great success in preventing the kind of high energy junction collisions experienced at Ladbroke Grove and Southall. Plain line signals like the one passed in Belgium however are not usually equipped with TPWS or any other trainstop device in UK.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The signal should've been equipped with TBL-1+. There was a tender for it, and it was budgetted, but it had never happened. It was given to a contractor who was so successful, they got too many orders to cope with. The works were supposed to start in September 2015, but didn't happen. Now, the government may look into the tender process for this as they found there might have been 'irregularities'.

Supplier problems, too much work too little time. Belgium is certainly not alone in this. Just a shame that fate seemed to have homed in on that rare unfitted site before it was complete. In a previous German collision (not the recent Bavarian one) I remember the line was also due to be fitted with a train protection system imminently.
 

axlecounter

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It should be noted that the 99,9% isn't about the signals but is based on a Risk Analysis. So it should be read as something like "TBL1+ covers 99,9% among the most dangerous and quite dangerous signals. Those with a low risk may well be uncovered and there may be a lot of them."
 

edwin_m

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It should be noted that the 99,9% isn't about the signals but is based on a Risk Analysis. So it should be read as something like "TBL1+ covers 99,9% among the most dangerous and quite dangerous signals. Those with a low risk may well be uncovered and there may be a lot of them."

That sounds a lot like the TPWS coverage.
 

2HAP

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An interesting development reported by De Standaard (in Dutch). Apparently the driver of the passenger train passed a double yellow light before he ran into the freight. There is no mention in the article of a subsequent single yellow and then red light. This possibly indicates a signal fault.

Bestuurder merkte dubbel geel licht op (Driver commented double yellow light on)

http://www.standaard.be/cnt/dmf20160609_02330894
 

edwin_m

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An interesting development reported by De Standaard (in Dutch). Apparently the driver of the passenger train passed a double yellow light before he ran into the freight. There is no mention in the article of a subsequent single yellow and then red light. This possibly indicates a signal fault.

Bestuurder merkte dubbel geel licht op (Driver commented double yellow light on)

http://www.standaard.be/cnt/dmf20160609_02330894

I read in another forum that the Belgian double yellow (displayed diagonally) is equivalent to our single yellow. The Wikipedia link below confirms this and states that single yellow is for shunting moves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgian_railway_signalling#Warning_signal

Warning signal
Warns of the aspect of a following main stop signal:
It can show a green aspect (the next signal is open without restrictions), double yellow (the next signal is at the stop aspect), green-yellow horizontal (the next signal requires a speed reduction) or green-yellow vertical (double warning in the case of a short section between the next signal and the signal after that, which has a red aspect or imposes a speed restriction).
 
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AlexNL

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Correct. The British 'double yellow' aspect is unseen in Belgium... the two yellow lamps should be interpreted as a single yellow: the next signal is at danger.
 

LAX54

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Correct. The British 'double yellow' aspect is unseen in Belgium... the two yellow lamps should be interpreted as a single yellow: the next signal is at danger.

When you travel to other countries, the signalling system always seems to look over complicated, well compared to the UK, where it is (in simple terms) straight forward......
G - DY - SY - R. and two whites for a shunt / calling on
 
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