C39/1997R A passenger car of an express train derailing on point in Siuntio, on November 20, 1997

A passenger car on an express passenger train en route from Turku to Helsinki was derailed and veered onto two tracks in Siuntio on 20 November 1997.

The remote control operator in Turku reported to the engineer of the express train proceeding to Helsinki on 20 November 1997 that according to the control system, the switch after the entry main signal at Siuntio could not be monitored by distance control. The train received permission to proceed past the red signal at the main signal to the switch. The engineer noted on approaching the switch at a speed of less than 10 km/h that the switch appeared to be in order. Just before this report the conductor on the train had detrained in order to turn the switch with the local points operating permission.

When the second of the six cars in the train reached the switch, the position of the switch changed. At this, the rear of the car and all the remaining cars in the train proceeded to a different track. The conductor immediately noticed the situation and reported it to the engineer over the conductor’s telephone. The engineer activated the emergency stop. The train proceeded some 30 metres from the switch before it was brought to a halt. At this stage, the derailed car was at an angle across two tracks, squeezed in by the other cars. The front bogie unit of this car was in the air, but it was lowered to the tracks when the entire train was subsequently pulled backwards in order to clear the situation.

None of the some 300 passengers on board were injured. Also the material damages remained slight.

The reason for the accident was a technical fault in the switch. Procedures had been established for approached an unmonitored switch. In the present situation, they were not fully observed.

C39/1997R Report (pdf, 0.23 Mt)

•Recommendation S55

Published 20.11.1997