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Eight injured in collision of bus and train: Search for cause after serious accident at Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz

Eight injured in collision of bus and train : Search for cause after serious accident at Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz

After a bus and a streetcar collided at Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz in Bonn, injuring eight people, one man is still in hospital. Meanwhile, the cause is being investigated.

After the serious accident on Tuesday evening, in which a streetcar and a city bus collided at Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz, investigations into the circumstances and causes are ongoing. A 21-year-old pedestrian who was hit by the bus is still being treated at the university hospital. There was no news on Wednesday about his condition.

Bus driver came down the sand bend

As reported, the accident occurred on Tuesday evening around 9.20pm at the Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz. According to witnesses, the 26-year-old bus driver drove from the Sandkaule in the direction of Belderberg. In the middle of the intersection, he collided with the streetcar of line 62 coming from the left, which was just entering Suttner-Platz from Kennedybrücke. The force of the impact was so strong that the bus was turned around and pushed into the streetcar stop. The 21-year-old man had been waiting there. Four passengers on the streetcar were slightly injured in the accident, as was the 26-year-old bus driver. Because the driver of the streetcar had also gone to a hospital for medical evaluation during the night and is also receiving psychological care, the total number of injured people rose to eight.

"An accident of this kind and with this number of injured has not occurred in recent years. This event makes us very concerned. We hope for a quick recovery of the injured, especially the seriously injured," SWB spokeswoman Stefanie Zießnitz said on Wednesday. The accident site had to be closed until late in the evening.

No obvious causes determined yet

It remained unclear for the time being how the accident could have happened. The question of possible causes was left open by the municipal utilities on Wednesday. Thus the transport companies could say neither something about a disturbance or disregard of the signal systems, nor about possible speed excesses. Buses and trains are allowed to drive 50 kilometres per hour on the two roads. It is now necessary to wait for the investigation of the police, said the SWB spokeswoman who added: "The train was seized for the investigation, and the tachograph is being evaluated.“

Since Wednesday night, the line has been reopened to traffic, and there have been no restrictions to urban rail traffic since then. However, the incident had left its mark at the scene of the accident: for example, the damaged railing at the stop was replaced by mobile barrier grids. A traffic light post and a street lamp were also damaged in the accident, but have since been put back into operation. The police had estimated the damage to property as late as Wednesday evening at around 250,000 Euro.

Trains have longer braking distances

Regardless of the causes in this specific case, the braking distance of a streetcar is generally significantly longer than that of a tyre vehicle. An emergency stop from a speed of 30 kilometres per hour, would be ten metres longer than that of a car or a bus: The train comes under these conditions only after about 22 metres to a halt. The reason for this is that the train does not use treaded rubber tyres. The steel wheels of the train continue to skid on the rails - and all the more so when wetness or leaves are involved.

Accordingly, many accidents involving railroads have to do with the longer braking distance. This was the experience of a Bonn police patrol car crew at the very same spot a year ago: The officers had initially started at Suttner-Platz in the direction of the bridge and turned left at the intersection into Sandkaule. In doing so, they collided with a train of line 66. The result: three injured police officers and a destroyed patrol car. (Original text: Rüdiger Franz / Translation: Mareike Graepel)