The Slovenia Times

Two killed as train runs into railway workers

Rail track in Logatec. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

A passenger train ran into a group of railway workers near Postojna in the south-west of the country on the morning of 21 December, killing two of them on the spot, while two sustained grave but not life-threatening injuries, according to police and railway authorities.

The police as well as Slovenian Railways have each launched an investigation into the accident, which happened near the village of Rakitnik, just south of Postojna on the Ljubljana-Koper line.

"Today is a sad day for Slovenian Railways," Dušan Mes, the CEO of the railways operator, said, expressing condolences to the relatives.

The Slovenian Railways maintenance crew consisted of nine members, eight workers and a watchman, head of SŽ Infrastruktura, the rail operator's maintenance arm, Matjaž Kranjc told the press. They were performing maintenance work on the track next to the one carrying the train, he said in a statement delivered alongside Mes.

A spokesman of the Koper Police Department, Davor Tozan, said in a statement that the train had crashed into a group of four, while a total of eight persons had been on the tracks. According to Kranjc, two of the survivors had suffered leg fractures, while the rest came away with scratches.

Slovenian Railways said in a press release earlier that the group had been performing urgent maintenance work, which is permitted during breaks in railway traffic, when a passenger train crashed into them at 9:20am.

Kranjc and Mes said they could not provide any details before the communication recordings and the signalling device are examined, and the cause is determined. But from what is known at the moment, it seems that the crew had not been informed of the approaching train.

The police could not confirm this, with Tozan saying this was still being determined, adding that the criminal police were investigating the site, which had also been searched by canines. He said an area of about a kilometre in length had been closed off, but could not say how far the train had pushed the casualties.

According to Tozan, none of the ten passengers onboard the train had been injured.

The surviving members of the crew have already been provided with psychological assistance, with Kranjc saying they were in deep shock. Psychological assistance has also been provided to the officers at the scene and will be provided to the victims' families as well.


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