German authorities criticise Czech Railways’ system following deadly train accident
Following Wednesday’s train accident in western Bohemia, in which an express train from Munich collided with another passenger train leaving three people dead and dozens injured, German railway organisations have been criticising the safety of Czech Railways, Aktiualne.cz reports.
Following Wednesday’s train accident in western Bohemia, in which an express train from Munich collided with another passenger train leaving three people dead and dozens injured, German railway organisations have been criticising the security of Czech Railways, Aktualne.cz reports.
The honorary chairman of the German passenger association PRO BAHN, Karl-Peter Naumann, has called for the Czech signalling system to be urgently revised.
The German rail organisation Rail Alliance, which brings together more than 150 companies from the railway sector in the country, has also joined in the criticism.
“The Czech Republic is lagging behind the European average in terms of safety on rails and roads. There is a lot to catch up on, especially when it comes to safety systems on rails,” the alliance wrote on Twitter.
In terms of rail deaths per billion passenger-kilometres (the number of kilometres travelled multiplied by the number of passengers), the Czech Republic reached 0.29 between 2009 and 2018. That is more than three times the European average of 0.09, suggest the data from the European Railway Agency. Germany, meanwhile, stands at 0.03.
According to the German DPA news agency, accidents are still quite common on Czech railways and local safety technology is considered outdated in many places.
German media also recalled the death of two passengers including a German national, in a train collision near Pernink in the Karlovy Vary region last year.
Wednesday’s accident took place on a monorail line near the village of Milavče in the Domažlice region. According to Transport Minister Karel Havlíček, the Western Express from Munich had ignored a red light at the Radonice switching station. However, it is still not clear whether it was the driver's error or a technical fault. The police are investigating the incident as a case of possible criminal negligence
According to the Czech Railway Administration, the line on which the accident occurred is equipped with relay signalling equipment in addition to signals and the traffic is controlled remotely by a dispatcher.
The highest level of signalling equipment on domestic lines is the European ETCS system, which automatically ensures that trains doesn’t exceed the safe speed and distance. However, the system has so far been installed only on some 569 kilometres out of a total of 9,000.