A fire on a freight train near Etten-Leur last year was caused by an incorrect emergency repair to an overhead line. This is what ProRail concludes after research. More than forty cars went up in flames during the fire.
The fire, exactly one year ago today, broke out after an overhead wire fell on the train. According to the railway manager, the overhead wire broke and fell on the train. That wire was dragged along and was still live, causing the cars on the train to catch fire.
Power was then applied to the wire again, but when this action was carried out a switch also broke. As a result, the power no longer switched off and electricity continued to flow through the broken wire for 18 minutes. “This failure could not be noticed at the control center and worsened the fire,” ProRail writes. No one was injured in the fire.
Research shows that the overhead line broke in a place where an emergency repair had previously been carried out due to wear and tear. The pipeline was temporarily repaired with a so-called additional thread, but according to ProRail, this was not actually allowed. “The installation of additional wires is no longer permitted, because this repair method leads to greater damage and more inconvenience when the wire does break,” the railway manager said.
ProRail checked whether more such incorrect repairs had been carried out. These have now been repaired, Omroep Brabant reports. The working method has also been adapted for when overhead lines are repaired. The train traffic controller in the affected area is now first contacted before power is restored to the wire, according to ProRail.
The track was also damaged in the fire in the freight train. Due to the repair work, no trains ran between Breda and Roosendaal for two days.
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- Train with cars on fire at Etten-Leur, train traffic blocked all day