Last updated: 12:09 PM ET, Sat May 16 2015

Train Accident Kills 2 in Western Germany

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | May 16, 2015

Train Accident Kills 2 in Western Germany

Image via Twitter

A passenger train collided with a truck at a railroad crossing in western Germany today, killing two and injuring 20, three of those severely, the Associated Press reported.

According to Police spokesman Jochen Laschke, a farm truck laden with manure got stuck on the tracks near the rural town of Ibbenbueren, about 275 miles west of Berlin. The train, traveling on a route cited by eTurbonews as the main artery between the German city of Osnabrueck and Amsterdam, was on its way to the Ibbenbueren’s station, but hit the truck instead.

After impact, the Westfalenbahn passenger train came to a stop after about 650 feet. Wreckage from both the manure truck and train covered both sides of the tracks.

"The train was very crowded," Laschke told the AP. "We got an emergency call at 11:31 a.m. today and rescue team, firefighters and psychologists from all over the region were activated to help."

Westfalenbahn commented in a tweet (translated here from German), “Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims.”

The rail line is a smaller private company not affiliated with national train operator Deutsche Bahn.

According to the AP, Germany has a reputation for quality rail service, but cited the news agency dpa’s report that six people in 2015 alone have been killed at German train crossings. Safety at crossings is especially a problem at rural crossings, as they often lack barrier gates.  

From a worker standpoint, all is not well for German railroads. Part of a union action, Deutsche Bahn passenger train drivers just conducted a five-day strike seeking better pay and shorter working hours.

Germany's worst train accident, said the AP, was a high-speed ICE train crash in 1998, occurring in the northern German town of Eschede. The accident killed 101 and injuring more than 80.

Tourists traveling by Westfalenbahn, be sure to check with them to see if there are any scheduling changes due to this accident.

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