After the collision of two freight trains in the Lower Saxony district of Gifhorn, train passengers must expect train cancellations and delays until the end of November. Deutsche Bahn announced on Friday that rail traffic would be massively disrupted at least until November 27th.
The railway originally assumed that the closure should last until Sunday evening. The section was completely closed, the trains would be diverted, said a railway spokeswoman. A federal police spokesman said explosive propane gas continued to escape from two tank wagons: "Any spark there can lead to a disaster."
Early on Thursday morning, a freight train stopped at a signal near Leiferde, and a following freight train drove onto the train for reasons that were initially unclear. Four wagons overturned in the collision, and the overhead line was also damaged. The approaching train consisted of 25 tank wagons filled with propane gas. Each tank car is loaded with 50 tons of gas - it can be assumed that around 250 kilograms escaped per hour, said the spokesman for the federal police.
After the accident, the driver of the oncoming train was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The man is doing well under the circumstances, the spokesman said. The driver of the second train was reportedly unharmed apart from a slight shock.
Passengers must expect delays
In view of the route closure, travelers must continue to expect trains to be canceled or delayed. Among other things, the busy connection between North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin is affected. The trains are diverted on the route, train passengers have to calculate a delay of about 90 minutes, as the railway announced. The Wolfsburg stop is omitted, the trains stop in Stendal as an alternative.
Also affected are ICE trains from Switzerland via Frankfurt and Kassel to Berlin. According to Deutsche Bahn, the IC connections between Amsterdam and Berlin only go as far as Hanover and also start there in the opposite direction. Trains that travel from Hamm and Münster via Hanover to Berlin are also affected. Travelers should find out about their connections before embarking on their journey. There were also restrictions and replacement services in regional traffic.
The greatest challenge is to create a "reasonable infrastructure", explained the spokesman for the federal police. The forest paths at the accident site were softened. The roads should probably be graveled on Saturday in order to be able to transport the equipment to salvage the wagons and the damaged locomotive. It is unclear how long the salvage and repair work would take, and it is difficult to make a forecast. The fire department assumes that their work could take two weeks.