Three days after the collision of two freight trains in the Lower Saxony district of Gifhorn, the fire brigade began pumping the explosive propane gas out of the wagons on Sunday afternoon. For this purpose, special pumps were positioned on Saturday, as Carsten Schaffhauser, spokesman for the Meinersen fire brigade, said.
It would take days to pump out the gas from the four overturned tank wagons.
Because the wagons are on their side, only about half of the content can be sucked out. Therefore, the last plan was to burn off the remaining content in a controlled manner. However, since this takes a long time, it is now being checked whether the half-empty wagons can be raised again with the help of lifting bags and cranes. The remaining gas could then be pumped out.
risk of explosion
Early on Thursday morning, a freight train stopped at a signal on the important west-east connection near Leiferde. A freight train following behind had driven up for reasons that were initially unclear. Four wagons overturned and the overhead line was also damaged. The approaching train consisted of 25 tank cars filled with propane gas. The hydrocarbon is highly flammable - the risk of explosion must be considered during recovery. Both freight trains came from private companies.
diversions and train cancellations
It will take several more days to salvage the gas freight wagons involved in the accident and to repair the destroyed section of the route between Hanover and Berlin. The route will remain closed until at least November 27, a spokesman for Deutsche Bahn said on Sunday. An exact prognosis is difficult. Trains are being diverted over a wide area, train passengers have to continue to prepare for failures and delays.
"Only when the scene of the accident has been cleared can we start repair work there," said a railway spokesman. Significant damage was already evident, for example to the overhead lines and the track bed. There is a special gesture of goodwill for passengers who want to postpone a planned trip: long-distance tickets that have already been booked can be used flexibly up to and including December 4th, and seat reservations can be canceled free of charge.
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