Services were interrupted at one of Prague’s biggest railway stations on Wednesday after a train failed to brake properly, derailed and came to a stop inside the main building at Masarykovo nádraží – around 25 metres beyond the end of the track. An investigation into the incident has been launched and regular services are gradually resuming. Ian Willoughby reports.
However, instead of stopping at the end of platform three the train continued, smashing through the buffer stop. Two wagons derailed and flew forwards, with the first ending up about 25 metres inside the station’s main building.
It came to a rest at the very spot where passengers regularly gather to find their platform on the station’s departures board.
However, the lateness of the hour meant there were few people at Masarykovo nádraží and only three minor injuries were reported, all among the 15 or so passengers on board the train.
The first carriage of the train will likely be written off after sustaining damages estimated at CZK 4 million.
Martin Drápal is the spokesman for Rail Safety Inspection Office.
“From the information I have from the scene of the accident, it took place shortly after 11 o’clock when the train driver went through a stop signal, broke through the buffer stop and went up onto the platform. The causes are still being investigated. Both technical faults and human error are being considered as possible causes. We will attempt to uncover any possible technical fault by inspections of the train.”
Independent railways expert Josef Schrötter says he does not want to speculate about the causes while the investigation is continuing. But he does point out that drivers should have significantly decelerated long before stopping.
“If I am arriving at a main railway station I should enter it extremely slowly. I wouldn’t go at 40 kilometres an hour and then put the brakes on when I arrive at the end of the platform. By then passengers are already standing in the aisles waiting to disembark, so they would fall. If I entered Masarykovo nádraží and tried to brake when I reached the platform but then my brakes failed, I would use the emergency brake.”
Some trains again began passing through Masarykovo nádraží at around 10 AM on Wednesday. Since then regular services have gradually been resumed.
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