After the collision of two freight trains in the Lower Saxony district of Gifhorn, the rescue work was difficult due to the escape of explosive propane gas. According to Deutsche Bahn, travelers in northern Germany can expect train cancellations and delays by the end of the month. Deutsche Bahn announced on Friday that long-distance traffic between Berlin and Hanover would be impaired until at least November 27th. Originally, the railway and the federal police assumed that the blocking would last until at least Sunday evening. Travelers should find out about their connections before starting their journey.
The salvage work is in full swing. A spokesman for the federal police said that the wagons that remained intact were already being pulled out of the danger zone today. This will gain space for the rescue equipment. It is also planned to pump out the explosive propane gas from the two leaking tank wagons as quickly as possible – half at first, then the wagons should be carefully erected and then the rest will be pumped out. The greatest challenge is to create a “reasonable infrastructure” for the salvage, the spokesman said. The forest paths at the accident site were softened. Will be considered to gravel the paths completely. It was unclear how long the work would take. Train passengers must therefore expect train cancellations and delays for even longer.
Among other things, the busy route between North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin is affected. Also affected are ICE trains from Switzerland via Frankfurt and Kassel to Berlin. According to Deutsche Bahn, the IC connections between Amsterdam and Berlin only go as far as Hanover and also start there in the opposite direction. Trains that travel from Hamm and Münster via Hanover to Berlin are also affected. Deutsche Bahn advises you to find out about the current situation on the Internet before you start your journey.
The freight trains of two private railway companies collided near Leiferde early Thursday morning. One of the trains had stopped at a corresponding signal, the second train drove up for an initially unclear reason. Two of its 25 tank wagons filled with propane gas overturned and two more derailed.
According to the federal police, the explosive gas escapes from two cars at around 250 kilograms per hour. 50 tons of gas are loaded in each of the two tank cars. As long as propane gas is still escaping, the scene of the accident cannot be cleared, said a spokesman for the federal police. Before the salvage, the wagons would have to be empty. “Any spark could cause a catastrophe.” The emergency services can only approach the scene of the accident with breathing apparatus because of the noxious gas. However, there is apparently no danger for the population because the place is in a wooded area “far away from the next development”, as a fire department spokesman told NDR.
Even if no more gas escapes, the rescue work will be difficult, according to the police spokesman. For heavy equipment – such as cranes – you first have to create a solid base. Overhead lines are also damaged. The driver of the oncoming train was injured and taken to the hospital.