Red signal given on rail safety

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State Secretary Wilma Mansveld (Infrastructure and Environment) received an urgent letter from 3 provinces, 20 municipalities and the Safety Region Central and West Brabant on Thursday, De Telegraaf reports.

The letter expresses their concern about the safety of transporting hazardous substances on the rail through densely populated areas via the Brabant route and other railways in the south of Netherlands. The letter was drafted by Tilburg Mayor Peter Noordanus, and co-signed by, among others, the municipalities of Breda, Zwijndrecht, Eindhoven, Roosendaal and Venlo and the provinces of Zuid-Holland, Noord-Brabant and Limburg.

This letter follows the collision between a freight train and passenger train in Tilburg last Friday. Combustible butadiene leaked from the freight train after the crash. It seems that the collision was caused by the driver driving through a red signal. The collision could have been avoided if the signal had been equipped with a so-called ATBvv system, which automatically slams on the breaks if a driver does not respond to a signal to reduce speed.

The signatories are surprised that the signal does not have an ATBvv system, as the installation of one was promised after a near accident in the same place in 2007. They asked Mansveld to check whether previously promised safety measures have actually been implemented and to bring forward planned measures.