This Day In Dutch History

Marie-Jacqueline 2012/01/08 22:45:45

Monument Harmelen

This day in Dutch history

The worst railway disaster in Dutch

occurred at Harmelen

08 January 1962

The Netherlands worst-ever rail accident occurred on a foggy morning in the middle of the winter of 1962.

At a lonely junction near Woerden, two trains collided with catastrophic effects.

At Harmelen the line from Amsterdam leaves the mainline between Rotterdam and Utrecht.

For a short distance, Amsterdam trains crossed over from the eastbound line to the westbound line before being diverted onto the Amsterdam line.

It was shortly before twenty past nine in the morning of Monday January 8, 1962 when a train bound for Amsterdam was snaking through the junction.
Consisting of two electric multiple units it was moving at about 45 mph.
The manoeuvre was protected from oncoming train by a red signal on the approach to the junction from the Utrecht direction.

A Utrecht to Rotterdam express train, headed by an electric locomotive, No. 1137 and travelling at about 60 mph was approaching the junction.

Perhaps because of the foggy conditions, the driver missed a yellow light warning that the next signal was at red.
It must have been at the last moment that he saw the danger signal.
The driver applied the brakes but there was nothing more that he could do.

Collision was inevitable.
The lead car of the EMU was about to enter the turnout from the main line when the locomotive of the express struck.
The superior weight and speed of the express loco ensured that the more lightly built car was pushed to one side.
The express ploughed on through the EMU, bringing down the overhead power lines and eventually destroying 6 of the Amsterdam train's coaches.
Three of the coaches of the express were also destroyed.

Between them, the trains were carrying about 500 people.
91 of them, including the drivers of both trains, lost their lives.
54 peoples were seriously wounded, of whom 2 later died in hospital

The Harmelen accident acted as a catalyst which spurred on the search for an automatic train control system.
Development of such a system had begun in 1954.
The system which was eventually installed on many lines in Holland is called Automatsiche TreinBeinvloeding.

It operates by collecting signals from line-side apparatus and will overide the driver's controls in the following situations:
a) failure to brake for a red signal (ATB makes an immediate brake application)
b) failure to reduce speed at a caution signal (ATB will slow the train sufficiently to stop at the next signal)
c) failure to observe speed limit (ATB slows the train)




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  • Rimorhyme 2012/01/10 15:19:58
  • Whizzy 2012/01/09 14:13:53
    bedankt voor je stukje Marie-Jacqueline, lost my uncle in that one
  • Marie-J... Whizzy 2012/01/09 21:46:29
    Looking at your age, you must have been born several years after this accident dit occur.
    Because of this accident you have never known your uncle!

    The emotional load of this accident must be still more present in your family, more than the average Dutchman so to speak.

    How do you feel about this monument to commemorate this awful accident.
    I think it whas about time (hoog tijd) that the seriousness of this accident was aknowleged in a monument.
  • Whizzy Marie-J... 2012/01/10 01:49:26
    Yes i was born a few years after and was named after him, basically that's the reason why i know this. I am glad this monument has been made, all to often with bad things happening, people are inclined to bury these events or diminish them with "oh but ***** (fill in major disaster on foreign ground) THAT was bad"
  • Marie-J... Whizzy 2012/01/11 00:14:12
    I understand what you mean!

    I think people need monuments!
    Sometimes we need a moment and a place to reflect what was, to share, to remember.
    Our past shapes our presen and future.
    In some sort of way it did yours

    We had that with the earthquake in 1992 here.
    Because everything wasn't in ruins, people wouldn't take it serious.
    A lot of damage was done, not always directly visible
    The people here however, including me had quite a fright from it.
    It is scary to wake up and everything to feel and hear a rambling sound as if a truck drives through your house.
  • Reality-Check 2012/01/09 11:17:41
    And that was the last disaster ever to happen in Holland... apart from when the yanks visit for holidays...

    Dank u voor uw geheugen..
  • Whizzy Reality... 2012/01/09 14:13:03
    excuse me?
    Train disaster Schiedam and in Goes (both 1976 with 31 dead combined)
    Planecrash Moerdijk (1981)
    The Bijlmer disaster (1992, EL AL plane crashes into two high rise buildings)
    The Fireworks disaster (2000 Enschede, an entire neighborhood gone due to an exploding fireworks factory)
    Pub Fire Volendam (new years morning 2001, 14 dead 180 injured)
    Detention center fire, Airport Schiphol (2005)
    Plane Crash Turkisch Airlines (2009)

    and that is just from memory
  • Reality... Whizzy 2012/01/09 14:16:47
    hmm... English humour hit a brick wall, I'll have to revise just for you...
  • Whizzy Reality... 2012/01/09 14:20:01
    Oh no not needed, I laughed at the second part of your first line. Just the first part is not true ;)
  • Reality... Whizzy 2012/01/09 14:22:48
    ok, no worries...
  • Marie-J... Whizzy 2012/01/09 21:36:48
    Whizzy, je was me voor!

    Dank je wel!

    Onderschrijf je antwoord helemaal!
  • Marie-J... Reality... 2012/01/09 21:35:11
    Whizzy beats me with give an answer!

    I totally agree with his comment!
  • Reality... Marie-J... 2012/01/09 22:47:54 (edited)
    Deep Sigh... and you share our joke? I think not... But I suppose that’s why you’re always fishing behind the net..
  • Marie-J... Reality... 2012/01/10 23:26:01
    Always fishing behind the net!
    What is that for an answer.

    It is clear to me that I don't share your sense of humor shown here
  • Reality... Marie-J... 2012/01/11 08:26:35
    Well if you're Dutch, you'll know exactly what that means...
  • Inge 2012/01/09 01:44:41
    Damn, heftig =/
  • Marie-J... Inge 2012/01/09 21:47:39
    Dank je wel voor je antwoord!
  • Doc. J 2012/01/08 23:22:38
    Doc. J
    That is terrible.
    (I miss your country)
  • Whizzy Doc. J 2012/01/09 15:23:21
    Always welcome to visit back :)
  • Marie-J... Doc. J 2012/01/09 22:10:34
    Yes it was.
    I was a child . I was about 5 1/2 years old, so I don't have real memories of this accident.

    Still every so many years this accident is in the media again.

    You have been in The Netherlands for about 3 years, so it must be difficult to adjust to the U.S. again.
    Just being curious! Can you put into words what you miss?

  • Doc. J Marie-J... 2012/01/09 23:23:44
    Doc. J
    I miss the quiet Dutch demeanor.
    After exposure to your countrymen, I am more and more convinced that there are far too many loud, ignorant people in my own country, and what we really need is some stroopwaffels and tea.
  • Marie-J... Doc. J 2012/01/10 23:35:57 (edited)
    I can't help you much with the loud and ignorant people in your country.

    Be comforted with the thought that you never will belong to that group.
    You have looked over the fence, so to speak, you have broadend your horizon; that is much more than those people will ever do.

    I can help you however with the stroopwafels and tea!
    Sit down, put your feet up and enjoy!

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2016/02/07 10:49:25

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