We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Emergency services at work at the scene of the derailed train. Alamy Stock Photo

One killed and 30 injured after train derails in the Netherlands

The double decker train was travelling from Leiden to The Hague when it struck a crane.

LAST UPDATE | 4 Apr 2023

ONE PERSON WAS killed and 30 were injured when a high-speed passenger train slammed into a crane and derailed near The Hague early this morning in the Netherlands’ worst train accident for several years.

The double-decker train carrying some 50 people from Leiden to The Hague veered off the track near the village of Voorschoten at around 3.30am (2.30am Irish time), emergency and railway officials said.

The force of the impact threw one double-decker carriage into a nearby field and others across the rails, AFP journalists at the scene said. A freight train also hit the crane but there were no casualties.

Dutch King Willem Alexander later visited the site of the crash, while Prime Minister Mark Rutte described it as a “terrible train accident”.

“My thoughts are with the relatives and with all the victims. I wish them all the best,” Rutte tweeted.

Emergency services worked through the night to treat victims, while several injured people were also treated in the homes of people living nearby.

“We heard a bang first and then later a much more intense one,” local resident Chris van Engelenburg, 36, told AFP.

“Then we heard people screaming. It was not good.”

The victim was an employee of construction company BAM, the firm was quoted as saying by Dutch media. Work was being done on the railway near Voorschoten, they reported.

Nineteen people had been taken to various hospitals in the area while 11 people were treated in nearby houses, emergency services confirmed.

‘Black day’

No trains will run from Leiden to The Hague for the rest of Tuesday and services will be disrupted for several days, train operator NS said.

voorschoten-netherlands-04032023-emergency-services-at-work-at-a-derailed-night-train-the-passenger-train-collided-with-construction-equipment-on-the-track-one-person-died-and-several-people-we One person died and several people were seriously injured in the crash. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

But the international Thalys service from Amsterdam to Brussels and Paris said it was unaffected.

Dutch police and prosecutors said they had launched a criminal investigation, while rail authorities and the country’s safety board are probing the cause of the crash.

The head of Dutch rail network company ProRail, John Voppen, said it was a “black day for the Dutch railways”.

ProRail said maintenance work was underway when the crash happened.

“Two of the four tracks were out of use because of this, while trains could run on the other two tracks,” it said.

NS boss Wouter Koolmees said the “devastation is very big”.

“We don’t know (why the train hit the crane). The investigation must be carried out properly,” he told a press conference.

The mangled wreckage of the crane could be seen further down the tracks, along with the cargo train.

voorschoten-the-place-where-two-trains-collided-with-a-construction-crane-one-person-has-died-and-several-people-have-been-injured-anp-pool-robin-van-lonkhuijsen-netherlands-out-belgium-out The place where two trains collided with a construction crane. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

All the carriages had broken windows while heavy scorch marks could be seen on one of them.

Dutch media reported a fire had broken out after the accident.

“We heard a very loud bang and for sure the house started to shake heavily… It was mostly really scary,” said local resident Jaron Ooms, 45.

“We did hear people screaming and at one point I also saw people with telephones searching in the meadow.”

The accident was the most serious in the Netherlands for years, according to public broadcaster NOS.

The Netherlands’ worst train disaster happened on January 8, 1962, when two passenger trains crashed after a driver missed a signal in thick fog at Harmelen, near the central city of Utrecht, killing 93 people and injuring 52 others.

One person was killed and six others were injured when a train collided with a hydraulic crane in the central Netherlands in 2016.

Another person died and 117 others were injured in a collision near Amsterdam in 2012 with reports later saying a driver failed to respect a stop sign.

© AFP 2023

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel