B6/2008R Fatal level crossing accident in Iisalmi, Finland, on 25 September 2008

On 25 September 2008 at 4.18 p.m., a level crossing accident leading to two fatalities occurred at the half barrier equipped level crossing of Suurisuo in Iisalmi. The accident occurred when a private car driving slowly westward along Parkatintie road collided with a passenger train en route from Kajaani to Helsinki. The two persons in the car died instantly. The car was wrecked beyond repair. The costs arising from the accident to railway rolling stock and equipment amounted to EUR 30,000.

The direct cause of the accident was that the car driver drove onto the level crossing without stopping. The driver applied the brakes only after the car had driven beneath the lowering barrier and was hit by it, with the result that the car stopped on the track. It is likely that the driver did not notice the level crossing warning signs or the lowering barriers. Potentially contributory factors possibly included the sun shining in the driver’s face, a worn windshield, the driver’s impaired eyesight, hearing and alertness.

In order to prevent similar accidents, the investigation commission recommends that the red blinking filament lamps of the barriers and warning signs of the Suurisuo level crossing be replaced by blinking or flashing LED lights. Identical replacements should be made at similar level crossings where it has been noted that the sun dazzles the driver when approaching the crossing.

B6/2008R Report (pdf, 1.4 Mt)

Recommendation S256
Published 25.9.2008