Hermalle-sous-Huy train collision

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Hermalle-sous-Huy train collision
Tournai nmbs 461 2.JPG
AM96 unit 461 was at the rear of the passenger train that collided with the freight train.
Hermalle-sous-Huy train collision is located in Belgium
Hermalle-sous-Huy train collision
Date5 June 2016
23:03 (CEST)
LocationHermalle-sous-Huy, Belgium
Coordinates50°33′40″N 5°20′37″E / 50.56111°N 5.34361°E / 50.56111; 5.34361
LineLiège–Namur railway line
Incident typeRear-end collision
CauseUnder investigation
Injured36 (9 serious)
DamageTwo carriages and a wagon severely damaged. 15 metres (16 yd) track and 50 metres (55 yd) sleepers damaged

The Hermalle-sous-Huy train collision was a collision between a passenger train and a freight train in Hermalle-sous-Huy, Belgium, on 5 June 2016. At least three people were killed and 36 others were injured, nine of them seriously.

The crash[edit]

The crash occurred at 23:03 CEST (21:03 UTC),[1] when the passenger train crashed into the rear of the goods train while the two trains were on the same line.[2] The driver of the passenger train was one of the fatalities.[3] All on board had been rescued from the train by 02:00 on 6 June.[4] Those less seriously injured were taken to Flône Abbey,[1] or a nearby sports centre.[4] The passenger train comprised two SNCB Class AM96 electric multiple units.[1] It was travelling from Mouscron to Liers via Namur and Liège. The freight train had about 30 wagons in its consist.[5]

The front two carriages of unit 548 were severely damaged.[3][6] Unit 461 was at the rear of the train.[4] It had about 40 passengers on board. The passenger train was travelling at about 90 kilometres per hour (56 mph) when it ran into the rear of the freight train,[7] which was either stationary,[5] or travelling at 10 to 15 kilometres per hour (6 to 9 mph).[3] It was reported that an earlier lightning strike had caused disruption on the Liège–Namur railway line.[8] A signal fault had been reported at 21:30, but was said to have been cleared at the time of the accident.[7] Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel tweeted his condolences to the victims and wished the injured a speedy recovery.[9] He and King Philippe visited the site of the accident on 6 June.[3]

Following the accident, it was revealed that the signal that was passed at danger was not equipped with the TBL 1+ train protection system, which is capable of automatic brake application if a train passes a red signal. This system was introduced following the Buizingen train crash in 2011.[10]

The train event recorders of the passenger train were recovered from the wreckage on 8 June in an apparently undamaged condition.[11] Infrabel stated that repairs to the tracks to allow single-line working for intercity trains would be completed by 8 June, with local trains being replaced by buses. It was intended that all track repairs would be completed by the evening of 9 June,[12] which was achieved. Normal service resumed that day. Damage to the track required the replacement of 15 metres (16 yd) of rail and 50 metres (55 yd) of sleepers.[13]


The Railway Accident and Incident Investigation Unit of the Federal Public Service Mobility and Transport opened an investigation into the accident.[14]

The train event recorder revealed that the driver of the train passed a signal displaying a double yellow (caution) aspect.[a] However, he only started to brake when the freight train came in sight.[13] The investigation resulted in an intermediate report being published in June 2017. It concluded that it was likely that the passenger train overran a red signal.[6]


  1. ^ A double yellow signal means that the signal ahead is showing a red (danger) aspect. See Belgian railway signalling for further details.


  1. ^ a b c "Grave accident de trains à Saint-Georges: 3 morts, 9 blessés et " une scène abominable "" [Serious train accident in Saint-Georges: 3 dead, 9 wounded and "an abominable scene"] (in French). L'Avenir. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  2. ^ "Collision entre deux trains à Hermalle-sous-Huy: trois morts et une quarantaine de blessés" [Two trains collided in Hermalle-sous-Huy: three dead and forty wounded] (in French). Le Soir. Retrieved 6 June 2016..
  3. ^ a b c d Thys, John. "Belgium probes deadly train crash, at least three killed". Yahoo News. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Hartley-Parkinson, Richard. "Three dead and 40 injured after train crashes into back of freight train". Metro. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Treinbestuurder en 2 passagiers omgekomen bij treinongeval in Wallonië" [Train driver and two passengers killed in train crash in Wallonia] (in Dutch). De Redactie. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Rapport intermédiaire d'Enquête de Sécurité. Collision par rattrapage d'un train de marchandises par un train de voyageurs survenue à Hermalle-sous-Huy le 5 juin 2016" [Interim Safety Investigation Report. Rear-end collision between a freight tran and a passenger train at Hermalle-sous-Huy on 5 June 2016] (PDF) (in French). RAIIU Belgium. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Three dead and nine injured in Belgium train crash". BBC News. 2016-06-06. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Drie doden bij treinongeval Luik" [Three dead in train crash in Liège] (in Dutch). De Telegraaf. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  9. ^ Charles Michel [@CharlesMichel] (6 June 2016). "(untitled)" (Tweet) (in French) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ "Accident de trains à Saint-Georges-sur-Meuse : le système de signalisation était-il équipé du système de sécurité TBL1 +?" [Train accident in Saint-Georges-sur-Meuse: was the signaling system equipped with security system TBL1 +?] (in French). L'Avenir. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  11. ^ "Accident de trains: la boîte noire du train de voyageurs retrouvée" [train crash: black box recovered from passenger train] (in French). L'Avenir. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  12. ^ "Accident de trains à Saint-Georges-sur-Meuse : le trafic relancé ce mercredi ?" [Train accident in Saint-Georges-sur-Meuse: the resumed traffic on Wednesday?] (in French). L'Avenir. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Bestuurder merkte dubbel geel licht op" [Driver commented double yellow light on] (in Dutch). De Standaard. 9 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  14. ^ "Botsingen" [Collisions] (in Dutch). Federal Public Service Mobility and Transport. Retrieved 11 June 2016.