"A terrible accident," Dutch PM says about train derailment; Train driver among injured
“A terrible accident in Voorschoten,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted about a train that derailed after colliding with a construction crane on Tuesday morning. At least one person died, and 30 got hurt, including the train driver. ProRail CEO John Voppen spoke of “a black day for the Dutch railway.”
Both the Prime Minister and the ProRail CEO expressed support for the victims and their loved ones. “We will, of course, investigate what happened,” Voppen said.
“With our thoughts, we are with the victims of the train accident in Voorschoten and their families. Many are currently in fear and uncertainty. We sympathize intensely with all of them,” said King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima in a brief statement released by the Koninklijke Huis.
An NS intercity and a freight train both collided with a construction crane on the train tracks in Voorschoten around 3:25 a.m. this morning. The passenger train derailed. One person died, and at least 19 had to go to a hospital for treatment. The NS train driver is among the injured. He broke several bones, an NS spokesperson told NOS. The two conductors on the intercity suffered minor injuries. An emergency hospital was opened in Utredcht to help the victims.
ProRail was working on the tracks in Voorschoten overnight, a spokesperson for the rail manager told NOS. Two of the four tracks were closed for the work. The Dutch Safety Board is at the scene to investigate what happened.
“It looked like a movie,” Anwar Akrouh (20), one of the passengers on the NS intercity, told the broadcaster. “The lights went out, it got dark, and people tried to get out of the train. I saw three injured people. Someone screamed, that was the train driver. I also helped someone who was in a lot of pain. We called 112, the emergency services were there after 10 minutes. Very sweet local residents helped us. Many thanks for that.”
The accident shook Minister Mark Harbers and State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen of Infrastructure and Water Management. In a first response, they expressed condolences and strength to the victims and their loved ones. Harbers also expressed thanks to the emergency services. Heijnen: “My thoughts are also with the rail- and train employees that experienced this terrible action while at work. I wish them a lot of strength.”
“This is truly an incredibly tragic accident,” said mayor Nadine Stemerdink of Voorschoten. “I sympathize with the victims. My thoughts go out to all the family and friends of those involved.”
Impact on train traffic
No trains will run to and from Leiden Central Station until at least 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday. NS asked travelers to use alternative transport, like the tram services in The Hague. The Dutch rail company also deployed busses to run between Den Haag Centraal, Den Haag Laan v NOI, Den Haag Mariahoeve, Voorschoten, De Vink, Leiden Centraal, Sassenheim, Nieuw Vennep, and Hoofddorp.
The accident may also impact train traffic between Schiphol Airport and Rotterdam Central Station, with NS warning of fuller trains and possible longer travel times as people on the Leiden route diver to this one.