Extremely long braking distance – after a train accident in Tyrol: ÖBB warn of dangers


After the drama in St. Johann, the ÖBB explains the deadly dangers on the Tyrolean railways. Above all, the braking distance of a train should not be underestimated. It can go up to 1.5 kilometers.

As reported, a terrible tragedy occurred at the Egger crossing in St. Johann shortly after 5 p.m. on Wednesday. A 35-year-old driver from Saudi Arabia stopped at the level crossing due to a traffic jam. Yells from eyewitnesses warned the occupants of an approaching train.

While the woman (34) and two children (7 and 11) were able to save themselves, the son (4) was immediately fatally injured in the crash. The driver succumbed to his injuries at the Innsbruck clinic that evening.

There was “only” one fatality in the past three years
Such tragedies, while rare, do happen. Last year there were seven accidents with one fatality, two slightly injured and one seriously injured. In 2020 there were four minor injuries in two accidents and no deaths. There were also no fatalities in five accidents in 2019, but two were slightly injured and one seriously injured.

There are a total of 112 level crossings in Tyrol, 60 percent of which are technically secured, ie equipped with light signals or light signals and barriers. The other 40 percent of the crossings that are not technically secured are marked with a St. Andrew’s cross and a stop sign.

Railjet at 230 km/h has a braking distance of 1.5 km
ÖBB press spokesman Christoph Gasser-Mair explains in an interview with the “Tiroler Krone” how dangerous the trains can be: “The braking distance of a Railjet can be up to 1.5 kilometers at a top speed of 230 km/h.” The braking distance also depends on the speed depending on the weather conditions. In most cases, despite an emergency stop, a collision can no longer be avoided.

Each system is individually determined from when the barriers are lowered at a level crossing. “Should it really happen that a vehicle is locked up by the barriers, the driver has to accelerate,” explains Gasser-Mair.

“Barriers designed to give way”
The barriers are designed to open upwards, bend or break when pressure is applied by a car, making it possible to get out. If – as in St. Johann – a deadly tragedy occurs, the drivers also receive professional help.

“You will be relieved immediately and receive both acute psychological care and the necessary time outside the legal period of 72 hours to be able to process the stressful events. If desired and necessary, also with further psychological support,” concludes the spokesperson.

Source: Krone


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