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Two dead after Swedish train crushes taxi

TT/The Local/dl · 19 Jan 2011, 13:58

Published: 19 Jan 2011 13:58 GMT+01:00

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"There was a driver in his forties and a passenger in the car. They likely died instantly. All that's left of the car is a pile of scrap," Västmanland County police spokesperson Per Strömbäck told the TT news agency.

The accident happened on Wednesday morning between Sala and Heby.

Speaking with the Expressen newspaper, police spokesperson Börje Strömberg explained that the taxi had driven up on the tracks when the level crossing barriers came down.

"Our theory is that the sun was quite low then and that the driver became blinded and didn't see that the barriers had gone down," he told the newspaper.

None of the passengers on the train were reported injured in the accident.

"However, the passengers are naturally in shock," said emergency services spokesperson Daniel Wåhrenberg.

The train, which according to national rail operator SJ was a commuter train on its way from Uppsala to Norrköping, is resting on the tracks while SJ works to arrange alternate transportation.

Story continues below…

"It's a smaller train and since it was during the day there weren't that many passengers," SJ spokesperson Malin Nygren told TT.

For the passengers having trouble dealing with the accident, SJ is offering on-site crisis assistance.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:18 January 19, 2011 by TIMBER
Did they have to be told to get out of the car or that the train would stop before it hit them.

Maybe there was a good song on the radio (there must be a joke in there somewhere, Long train running).
17:44 January 19, 2011 by Keith #5083

Maybe the driver 'froze' or went into a heart attack?

Maybe he was trying to get off but there was ice preventing him in those few vital seconds?

We all like to think we can behave rationally and logically in such situations, life has taught me that many people cannot or do not.

My sincerest sympathies to the families and friends of those involved in what looks to be a devastatingly destructive crash.
18:32 January 19, 2011 by dammen
it is a real shame that this has happened and I feel for everyone involved.

Unfortunately this situation is becoming more frequent with more people and cars taking the risk to cross the lines when the barriers are down - sun in the eyes requires extra vigilance as anyone who drives this time of year knows. People think that trains can stop as quickly as cars when in reality they weigh over 3 tonnes and travelling over 120 km hour - even with the emergency breaks it can take over 800m to stop - in good conditions - the average stopping time is about 1200m - a long long way in this situation like this

I feel most for the driver - was reading in another paper that it might have been a trainee driver -poor soul hope it was not their first day out after the intensive high level training they have for this. We have a train driver in the family and it is just the kind of situation we dread every day.
18:40 January 19, 2011 by kenny8076
with all do respect Keith...... few vital seconds? isnt it like 30 seconds to a minute that those things go down before the train comes? are they saying he was driving over it when it came down, stopped the car and sat there for 30-60 seconds while a train was speeding towards him?!?! this is quite strange and im pretty sure something is not being said....... why didnt he just drive around the barriers? Why didnt he or the passenger get out of the vehicle the moment the car was stopped and walk away? lol im baffled that they said the sun was blinding?...... well im sure the train was blowing the heck out of the horn so i KNOW they knew a train was coming....... something doesnt add up.....
23:55 January 19, 2011 by GLO
Life is short, better plan ahead......Where is your next stop....
03:49 January 20, 2011 by jbat
kenny8076??? lol???

sometime people become stupid when they panic.. whatever...

And for whatever theory you have.. don´t LOL when discussing about tragic accident... as it may happen to you too...
08:52 January 20, 2011 by kcussmilsum
This is very tragic and sad for the family of the passenger. Just in case, there is a 90% chance that maybe this taxi driver used his religion of peace for a driving method... stranger things have happened in Sweden.
10:12 January 20, 2011 by avatar
Sad!!! My thoughts are with families of those on board the Taxi. There are traffic experts who should investigate the incident and make suggestions to avoid such situation in future -- rather than us making our conclusions.
10:49 January 20, 2011 by Keith #5083

few is a term meaning 'a small number but certainly not one' It is a relative term, as for example Churchill used it about Battle of Britain pilots "owed by so many to so few" in that case the 'few' numbered 3,000+.

My useage of it in this context was to highlight the relatively short time available for decisive action - once the realisation of the situation had been appraised.

However, I do also have the impression that 'something doesn't add up'.

Nevertheless, it does not prevent me from treating the death of two people seriously....hint.hint #Timber
12:29 January 20, 2011 by dammen

There is an investigation under way and what they have found so far is paint from the taxi under the barrier - which means that the taxi driver took a risk and went under the barrier when it was coming down. In the area it happened there are small level crossing on not so busy roads. The barriers are regulated and automatic and triggered when the train is a certain distance from the crossing - if i remember right it is about 2km. There are sirens and lights 30 secs before the barriers start to come down and it takes a further 30s before they are fully in place. There is much longer warning on busier roads but even there, like the taxi driver, others take the risk. The barriers are there for public safety - if there is any suggestion to be made it is for the public to take responsibility and stop dicing with their own and others lives. In Uppsala area there is at least one weekly occurance of people (and sometimes bikes/cars) trying to cross the lines when the barriers are down - because the cannot see the train just yet!.

What about the driver of the train! She/he will be off work for a while now
13:51 January 20, 2011 by Keith #5083

thx 4 the expert and precise info
19:59 January 20, 2011 by Garry Jones
It's more common that you would think

www (dot) youtube (dot) com/watch?v=GNlm7DEC9Sk
09:16 January 21, 2011 by Da Goat
@ dammen

I think there are some zeros missing from your train weights did you mean 30 tonnes or 300 maybe as 3 is a pretty small train probably closer to the car weight.

I recall this happening not that long ago, maybe it is time to stop playing Swedish roulette people, heavy rolling guillotines are not to be trifled with folk, they tend to make a mess! the barriers are there for a reason even if one can't see it when you are in a hurry
23:32 January 21, 2011 by Albertoz
Levels crossings can be made safer to allow for human error. Rumble strips from 100 metres on the approachs gives a timely reminder and slows drivers down, which is a critical factor in level crossing accidents.
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