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Waterpark train crash

The Sloterdijk train collision occurred at 18:30 local time (16:30 UTC) on 21 April 2012, when two trains collided head-on at Westerpark, near Sloterdijk, in the west of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Around 117 people were injured, one of whom later died in the hospital. The collision is thought to have been caused by the driver of one of the trains having passed a red signal.

In the early evening, a local train (an NS Sprinter Lighttrain) had just left Amsterdam Centraal and collided with a double-decker NS VIRM Intercity train travelling in the opposite direction on the same track. Initial reports varied. Between 33 and 136 passengers were thought to be injured, amongst which 20 seriously injured. A member of the fire service later corrected the amount of seriously injured people to 56. The actual figures amount to 117 injuries (13 critical, 43 or 44 serious, less than 60 minor). On April 22, a 68-year-old woman died from her wounds and sixteen people were still in the hospital. On Wednesday May 23, the last train victim was sent home from the hospital.

The trains involved were an NS Class 2600 electric multiple unit, number 2658, and an NS Class 8700 double-deck electric multiple unit, number 8711. None of the trains derailed. Passengers were reported to have been thrown against walls, seats, windows, and other passengers. Just before the crash, witnesses said one of the trains sounded a long hoot of its horn. Photographs show that the Class 8700 unit received moderate damage, with deformations at the rear of the first and front of the second carriage.

The accident occurred between Amsterdam Centraal and Amsterdam Sloterdijk stations, near Westerpark, suspending railway services between Amsterdam and The Hague as well as to Schiphol Airport on one of the busiest rail routes in the Netherlands. The local train was travelling between Amsterdam and Uitgeest whilst the Intercity train was travelling between Den Helder and Nijmegen. By Sunday afternoon, traffic was partially restored with a full service expected by that evening.

The stretch of line where the accident occurred is where trains do not travel at full speed. It is estimated that both trains were travelling at about 50 kilometres per hour (30 mph). Bus services were provided to bring people to their destinations during the suspension.

Although the cause of the accident has not been officially determined, a reporter from de Volkskrant was travelling on the Class 2600 train, immediately behind the cab. He reported that the driver of that train said that she feared that she had just missed a red signal.

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