Freight train collision: NRW-Berlin route probably closed for days

Status: 11/18/2022 7:57 a.m

After the collision of two freight trains near Leiferde (Gifhorn district), rail travelers must expect severe impairments in long-distance traffic until at least Sunday evening.

That said a spokeswoman for Deutsche Bahn (DB) early Friday morning. Many long-distance trains are therefore diverted. There are delays and cancellations. The Berlin-Hanover railway line is affected. The important route with numerous long-distance connections has been closed since Thursday morning. Travelers should check before boarding inform about their connectionssaid the railway.

Gas escapes, preventing recovery

As long as explosive propane gas escapes from the damaged tanker, the scene of the accident cannot be cleared, the federal police said. “Any spark could cause a catastrophe.” Police and fire brigades want to discuss how to proceed this morning with experts from the railways and the works fire brigade of a large chemical park in the Ruhr area.

Elaborate rescue with heavy equipment in the forest

The federal police expected difficult clean-up work. The trains would have to be salvaged, the overhead line repaired – and it is also unclear whether the rails and the subsoil are affected, said a spokesman. Even if no more gas escapes from the tankers, the salvage work will be difficult. For heavy equipment – such as cranes – you first have to create a solid base. The scene of the accident is in the middle of the forest.

Detours via Uelzen cause delays

In addition to long-distance traffic, the accident also affects regional traffic: According to a spokeswoman for the Metronom railway company, all long-distance and freight trains will be diverted via Uelzen until further notice. Therefore, the trains are delayed, especially on the Hanover – Hamburg route. On the Erixx route between Uelzen and Gifhorn, a replacement bus service was set up on the section between Uelzen and Wieren. Between Hanover, Gifhorn and Wolfsburg, the Enno trains only commute between Hanover and Lehrte. According to the company, a rail replacement service is also to be set up on the remaining route.

Train driver seriously injured

The two freight trains collided between the towns of Leiferde and Dalldorf at around 3.30 a.m. on Thursday night. A freight train stopped at a stop signal, then a following freight train drove up for reasons that have not yet been clarified, according to the fire brigade. As a result of the collision, the locomotive was badly damaged and lifted off the tracks. The 45-year-old driver of the approaching train was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, the federal police said. The other driver was slightly injured.

Escaping gas delays rescue and clean-up work

According to the information, the 25 tank wagons of the freight train that was pulled up were filled with propane gas, which can form a highly explosive mixture when combined with air. Two tank wagons overturned in the collision and two more derailed. Two leaks developed, from which gas escaped. The gas must first escape completely, said a federal police spokesman. There is currently a “picture of destruction and devastation” at the scene of the accident, the spokesman said on Thursday afternoon. Several hundred meters of overhead line were also torn down in the accident. The electricity was shut off and the scene of the accident was cordoned off within a radius of one kilometer.

No danger to the population

Propane gas is not only highly flammable, but also a health hazard. Rescuers can therefore only go to the scene of the accident with heavy respiratory protection. According to the police, the emergency services must proceed with the utmost caution and wait until everything has been released before they can safely begin to clear the scene of the accident. On the other hand, there is no danger for the population because the accident site is in the middle of a forest, said a fire department spokesman. The scene of the accident was “far away from the nearest buildings”, namely around 2,500 meters. The wind also distributes the gas.

AUDIO: Train accident near Gifhorn: propane escapes (1 min)

The following long-distance train connections are cancelled:

  • Trains of the ICE line 9 (Berlin – Bonn)
  • Individual trains of the ICE/IC route 24 (Hamburg – Hanover – Berlin / Berlin – Frankfurt/Southern Germany)
  • Individual trains of IC line 26 (Berlin – Hanover – Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe – Fulda – Frankfurt/South Germany)
  • Trains on IC line 32 (Berlin – Hanover – Dortmund – Cologne – Mannheim – Stuttgart – Ulm)
  • Trains on IC line 56 (Dresden – Leipzig – Magdeburg – Hanover – Bremen – Emden – Norddeich Mole)

on The following long-distance lines are partially canceled:

  • Trains on IC line 14 (Baltic Sea resort of Binz – Berlin – Hanover – Dortmund – Cologne) are canceled between Berlin Ostbahnhof and Cologne Hbf
  • Trains on IC line 55 (Cologne – Dortmund – Hanover – Magdeburg – Leipzig – Dresden) are canceled between Cologne Hbf and Braunschweig Hbf
  • Trains on IC line 77 (Berlin – Hanover – Bad Bentheim – Amsterdam Centraal) are canceled between Berlin Ostbahnhof and Hanover Hbf
  • Detours and delays will occur on other connections.

Further information

Travelers are standing at a platform where a train is arriving.  Photo: Christoph Soeder

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This topic in the program:

Hello Lower Saxony | 11/17/2022 | 19:30 o’clock

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