C28/1997R Train colliding with a felled tree at Iittala, on August 21, 1997

In connection with forestry work along the track at Leteensuo, Iittala, north of the city of Hameenlinna,
a large tree fell across the track. The tree remained suspended in part by the contact wires. An express train that was proceeding along the track at the same time collided with the tree. The emergency brakes were released, and the train continued about 600 metres more before coming to a stop. In connection with the collision, the contact wires and their support cables became entangled with the locomotive, and tore off the pantograph, other electrical devices and the antenna from the roof of the locomotive. The antenna was necessary for communications. In addition to the damage to the contact wires, two support poles were twisted out of shape.

None of the personnel or the one hundred passengers were injured. The total damages from the accident were less than 120 000 USD.

The reason for the accident was that large trees were felled immediately alongside the track without restraining them with a sling to direct their fall. Those felling the trees were overly confident in their abilities. Furthermore, no protective measures had been requested along the track, and those felling the trees had no possibilities of communicating with the train dispatcher.

Under no circumstances may trees be felled within the clearance gauge defined in the construction regulations and instructions. When pruning a forest alongside the tracks, all trees to be felled that have a lower diameter of 15 cm or more, and that could when cut down extend within the open field extension, must be restrained with a sling or another appropriate manner.

C28/1997R Report (pdf, 0.34 Mt)

•Recommendation S68
Published 21.8.1997