Morlanwelz train collision and runaway

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Morlanwelz train collision and runaway
SNCB AM96 441, Lille Flandres (14712705326).jpg
The trains involved were Class AM96s, similar to this one.
Morlanwelz train collision and runaway is located in Belgium
Morlanwelz train collision and runaway
Date27 November 2017
07:25 CET (06:25 UTC) - first collision.
~20:00 CET - runaway
~20:20 - second collision
LocationMorlanwelz, Hainaut, Belgium - initial collision
Piéton, Hainaut - runaway
Strépy-Bracquegnies, Hainaut - second collision
CoordinatesCoordinates: 50°28′27″N 4°07′36″E / 50.4741°N 4.1266°E / 50.4741; 4.1266
LineMons - Charleroi
Incident typeObstruction on line, subsequent runaway and collision
CauseUnder investigation
Trains1 (Morlanwelz, Piéton)
2 (Strépy-Bracquegnies)
Deaths2 (runaway)
Injured2 (runaway)
5 (second collision)

On 27 November 2017, a Belgian passenger train ran away during recovery operations following a collision at a level crossing. After 14 kilometres (8.7 mi), it collided with a stationary train at Strépy-Bracquegnies, killing two and injuring seven. The accident was caused by a failed coupling.


Level crossing[edit]

At 07:25 CET (06:25 UTC) on 27 November 2017, a passenger train collided with a car on a level crossing at Morlanwelz, Hainaut, Belgium. A fire broke out, damaging the leading carriage of Class AM96 electric multiple unit 449, which formed the passenger train with unit 442. The driver of the car had managed to escape from the vehicle before it was hit by the train. There were no injuries on the train. The fire was quickly extinguished. A signal and 12 metres (39 ft) of track were damaged in the accident.[1]

Runaway and collision[edit]

During recovery operations at about 20:00,[2] the three carriages of unit 449 were detached from unit 442 train at Piéton.[1][3][4][5] The unit ran away towards La Louvière,[2][6][7] subsequently striking four Infrabel employees who were repairing the track at Morlanwelz, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from Piéton.[4] Two were killed and two were seriously injured.[8][9] An attempt to stop the train by cutting the power supply was unsuccessful.[3] The train continued to run away and then collided with another passenger train at Strépy-Bracquegnies at about 20:20,[3][6] having passed through three stations and over five level crossings and travelling for 14 kilometres (8.7 mi).[4] The second train involved was formed of two Class AM96 units, including unit 483.[10] Five people were injured.[9]


The railway was closed and a bus replacement service was put in place between Charleroi-South and Mons.[8] The line was subsequently scheduled to remain closed between Oubourg and Charleroi-South on 29 November.[10] The line between La Louvière-Sud and Charleroi-South reopened on 30 November, leaving the section between La Louvière-Sud and Mons closed whilst repairs were made.[11] That section reopened to traffic on 4 December.[12]


A research institution opened an investigation into the accidents.[2] Investigations were also opened by SNCB, Infrabel and the Judiciary.[13] It was originally reported that the coupling failed between units 442 and 449, which caused the runaway.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Une voiture fauchée par un train à Morlanwelz: le conducteur du véhicule qui a pris feu a pu s'extraire juste à temps" [A car struck by a train at Morlanwelz: The driver of the vehicle that caught fire just got out in time] (in French). RTL. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Decré, Hanne; Huyghebaert, Pieterjan; Laenen, William (27 November 2017). "Wat weten we tot nog toe over het dodelijk treinongeval in Morlanwelz?" [What do we know so far about the deadly train accident in Morlanwelz?] (in Dutch). VRT. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Train accident in Morlanwelz - two deaths and seven injured (two seriously)". The Brussels Times. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d "Dodelijk ongeval Morlanwelz: treinbegeleidster nog altijd zwaargewond in ziekenhuis" [Fatal accident at Morganwelz: Train conductor still seriously injured in hospital] (in Dutch). HLN. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  5. ^ Dussart, Florence. "Accident ferroviaire de Morlanwelz: la piste d'une erreur humaine" [Morlanwelz railway accident: The trail of human error] (in French). RTBF. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Un train hors de contrôle tue deux cheminots à Morlanwelz" [An out-of-control train kills two railway workers in Morlanwelz] (in French). RTL. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Bizar ongeval: twee doden en trein 14 kilometer op hol geslagen" [Bizarre accident: two dead and train runs away for 14 kilometres] (in Dutch). De Telgraaf. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  8. ^ a b Saerens, Zico (27 November 2017). "Trein rijdt in op spoorwegarbeiders in Henegouwen: 2 doden en 2 zwaargewonden" [Train hits railway workers in Hainaut: 2 dead and 2 seriously injured] (in Dutch). VRT. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Accident de train mortel durant des réparations à Morlanwelz: voice ce qui l'on sain" [Deadly train accident during repairs at Morlanwelz: Here's what we know] (in French). RTL. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ a b "Le plan de transport alternatif de mardi reconduit pour mercredi" [Tuesday's alternative transport plan renewed for Wednesday] (in French). 7sur7. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  11. ^ "La circulation ferroviaire entre La Louvière et Charleroi a repris ce jeudi matin" [Rail traffic between La Louvière and Charleroi resumed this Thursday morning] (in French). Sudinfo. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  12. ^ Dussart, Florence. "Retour à la normale sur le rail après l'accident ferroviaire" [Return to normal on the rails after the rail accident] (in French). RTBF. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Accident de train à Morlanwelz: quatre enquêtes sont ouvertes" [Train accident at Morlanwelz: Four investigations opened] (in French). RTBF. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017.