Train Derails in the Netherlands, Killing at Least One

AMSTERDAM — At least one person was killed and about 30 others injured when a passenger train derailed near The Hague on Tuesday after striking a crane, Dutch officials said, a rare accident in a country with an excellent record for rail safety.

The train, carrying 50 passengers, was on its way to The Hague from a nearby city, Leiden, when it derailed near the suburb of Voorschoten at about 3:30 a.m., according to safety officials for the Dutch region of Hollands Midden.

The train struck a crane, said Jeroen Wienen, a spokesman for the Dutch rail authority, ProRail. A freight train, on a different track, also hit the crane, he said.

Pictures from the scene showed two yellow and blue train carriages detached from the rest of the four-car train and lying perpendicular to the tracks, and across a canal that separates the railway from a grassy area.

The two trains did not collide with each other, and the exact details of what had happened were unclear, Mr. Wienen added. He said that ProRail had started an investigation. The police said that they had also started an inquiry.

Several dozen injured people were treated at the scene and taken to hospitals, Hollands Midden officials said in a statement. Some were being cared for in nearby homes.

“It’s a black day for the railway,” said John Voppen, the chief executive of ProRail. “I’m shocked by what I saw.”

The authorities have not yet determined the identity of the person who died, train officials said at a news conference on Tuesday morning. The driver of the freight train suffered light injuries, and the driver of the passenger train was in the hospital with broken bones.

In contrast to Greece, where a train collision a little more than a month ago left 57 people dead in the worst rail crash in the country’s history, the Netherlands has an enviable reputation for safety on the tracks.

The crash in Greece brought increased scrutiny to rail safety there, and in the days afterward, it emerged that delays, missed warnings and mistakes had left the Greek railway system vulnerable to human error.

According to a 2022 report by the European Union Agency for Railways, the rail system in the Netherlands is much safer than the one in Greece and has a fatality rate that is among the lowest in the European Union.

Work was underway on Tuesday morning to secure the area around the site, the authorities in Voorschoten said. They asked residents to stay away from the site to make room for emergency responders.

The Dutch railway, Nederlandse Spoorwegen, said that train service to and from Leiden would be suspended until at least late afternoon Tuesday. Trains between Leiden and The Hague will be suspended for several days, Mr. Voppen said.

The Dutch Safety Board, an independent administrative body that conducts investigations in the Netherlands, said that representatives were on their way to the site of the derailment.

“A terrible train accident,” the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, wrote on Twitter. “My thoughts are with the bereaved families and with all the victims.”

Claire Moses reported from Amsterdam, and John Yoon from Seoul. Emma Bubola contributed reporting from London.

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