February train crash investigation prompts call for more safety rules

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Railroad crossings need to become safer, the Dutch Safety Board says in its investigation report on a

In the accident a train collided with a crane that was crossing the tracks. The train driver was killed. 

The Dutch Safety Board has several suggestions to make rail crossings safer, according to newspaper AD. Rail manager ProRail should ensure better information and instructions at railroad crossings. By improving these two things, heavy vehicles will have a better idea about when it is safe to cross the rails. ProRail should also better cooperate with road authorities in assessing the risk of accidents at crossings.

The Board also suggests establishing a notification option for drivers who get into trouble at crossings. This could give trains more warning of blocked rails, and train drivers time to flee from their cabin if necessary. It is unclear whether the train driver in the Dalfsen accident tried to flee, but according to the investigators he did not have time. Due to the speed of the train and a blind turn in the tracks, the driver only saw the coming accident about four seconds before it happened. 

The driver of the crane involved in the accident had no way to warn ProRail or the oncoming train about the tracks being blocked. In other European countries, such as the U.K., they have facilities for such warnings. The Board therefore recommends that ProRail establishes such a warning facility.

In reaction, ProRail told AD that the company is "embracing" the recommendations. 

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