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Police investigate ICE train malfunction in tunnel

DDP/DPA/The Local · 23 Aug 2010, 12:40

Published: 23 Aug 2010 12:40 GMT+02:00

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“The incident will be investigated,” a spokesperson for the federal police said, adding that they planned to determine whether Deutsche Bahn errors were to blame.

“If evidence of wrongdoing arises, then preliminary proceedings will be opened with the state prosecutor’s office,” the spokesperson said.

The incident occurred on Sunday in the Pulverdinger tunnel at Vaihingen am der Enz, near Stuttgart in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg. The train was travelling at a speed of some 200 kilometres per hour when there was an engine failure.

Between five and seven people suffered circulatory problems after the train stalled in the tunnel and technicians turned off the electricity due to safety concerns – which in turn shut down the train’s climate control system.

Deutsche Bahn workers failed to pull the train out, and it was almost four hours before passengers were forced to change trains inside the tunnel to be transported to Stuttgart.

One passenger was taken to a nearby hospital. Meanwhile the Mannheim-Stuttgart line was closed in both directions.

So far none of the passengers has filed a criminal complaint, the police spokesperson added.

But Stefan Buhl, head of passenger advocacy organisation Pro Bahn, complained on Sunday that Deutsche Bahn had repeatedly failed to provide proper towing for broken-down trains or timely replacement trains.

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“If Deutsche Bahn is already too overwhelmed to tow a train in such a situation, then it’s hard to imagine what would happen in the case of a catastrophe,” he said.

Just last week 15 people were injured when an ICE crashed into a garbage truck in Lambrecht, in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate. In July the company made headlines when a heat wave caused air conditioning meltdowns on some 50 trains.

DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:16 August 23, 2010 by Johnne
I was on the train, me & my wife went to Mannheim for the weekend. It was not a pleasant experience. Deutsche bahn should really try to improve on their services cos they´re loosing it! they couldn´t do anything for more than 3 hours! they almost sophocated us all in that beauty devil called ICE. it was terrible.
16:15 August 23, 2010 by freechoice
[So far none of the passengers has filed a criminal complaint, the police spokesperson added.]

The Germans are really patient people...all English speaking countries have to learn this attribute from Germans.
17:21 August 23, 2010 by Surf City
(The Germans are really patient people...all English speaking countries have to learn this attribute from Germans.)

Are you serious? Your weak... You let big business get away with way too much... learn? get real!
22:22 August 23, 2010 by crm114
@Surf City and its exactly your type of rabid litigiousness that has contributed to the rise in state nannying "its health and safety" syndrome that seems to pervade modern society.
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