2017 Leuven derailment

Coordinates: 50°53′50″N 4°42′42″E / 50.8972°N 4.7118°E / 50.8972; 4.7118
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2017 Leuven derailment
Photograph showing type of train involved in the accident.
The train involved was a Class 80, similar to this one
2017 Leuven derailment is located in Belgium
2017 Leuven derailment
Date18 February 2017
13:13 CET
Coordinates50°53′50″N 4°42′42″E / 50.8972°N 4.7118°E / 50.8972; 4.7118
Incident typeDerailment
CauseExcessive speed

A derailment of a passenger train occurred on 18 February 2017 at Leuven, Belgium. One person was killed and 27 were injured. The cause of the derailment was excessive speed through a set of points.


At 13:13 CET (12:13 UTC), a 3-car passenger train operated by a single Class 80 electric multiple unit No.326 was derailed shortly after leaving Leuven.[1] The front carriage fell on its side, the centre carriage was derailed and the rear carriage remained on the tracks.[2] The train had just left Leuven for Brussels,[3] and De Panne. It had travelled 500 metres (550 yd) when the accident happened.[2] One person was killed and 27 were injured, three seriously. Fourteen of the victims were taken to hospital. A further 57 passengers were uninjured.[1] It was initially thought that the victim was not on board the train, but this theory was later discounted and it was confirmed that he was a passenger.[2]

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel visited the site. He tweeted his thanks to the emergency services for their rapid intervention following the accident.[4]

Following the accident, trains between Brussels and Liège were cancelled, although they were able to run between Leuven and Ottignies.[1] One track was reopened to traffic by 18:00.[5] The three carriages of the train were removed from the site during the night of 19–20 February.[6]


The Railway Accident and Incident Investigation Unit, Belgian police, and SNCB have opened investigations into the accident.[1][5] The police investigation revealed excessive speed through a set of points to be the cause of the derailment. The train was travelling at 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) where the speed limit was 40 kilometres per hour (25 mph).[7]

According to the Railway Accident and Incident Investigation Unit final report,[8] the driver was distracted and accelerated too soon and the train protection system (TBL1++) was not designed to monitor the speed and apply emergency braking in this particular sequence of events (Green Yellow Horizontal signal). Also may have been confused by the complex track and signal layout and by a misleading speed sign meant for another track, which was promptly removed.


  1. ^ a b c d "Overleden persoon zat vermoedelijk toch op ontspoorde trein in Leuven" [Deceased person probably sat in train that derailed in Leuven]. Gazet van Antwerpen (in Dutch). Mediahuis NV. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Un train déraille près de Louvain: la victime est un jeune homme de 21 ans originaire du Brabant wallon" [A train derails near Leuven: the victim is a young man of 21 years old from Walloon Brabant] (in French). RTL. 18 February 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  3. ^ Morley, Nicole. "One dead and dozens injured as train derails outside station in Belgium". Metro. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  4. ^ @CharlesMichel (18 February 2017). "Medeleven met slachtoffers en familieleden van het treinongeval in #Leuven. Dank aan de hulpdiensten voor snelle interventie" (Tweet) (in Dutch) – via Twitter.
  5. ^ a b "Dode van treinongeval in Leuven zat wellicht toch in trein" [Dead person in train accident was probably in the train] (in Dutch). De Redactie. Archived from the original on 19 February 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Treinramp Leuven: "Onmogelijk dat wissel heeft bewogen"" [Train disaster Leuven: Impossible that points have changed]. Gazet van Antwerpen (in Dutch). Mediahuis NV. 20 February 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Treinongeval Leuven: treinbestuurder reed meer dan dubbel zo snel als toegelaten" [Leuven train accident: Driver went more than twice as fast as allowed]. Gazet van Antwerpen (in Dutch). Mediahuis NV. Archived from the original on 9 March 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  8. ^ Rapport d'Enquête de Sécurité : accident du 18 février 2017 (in Dutch and French)