99.9 Percent is 75 Percent: The 2016 Hermalle-sous-Huy (Belgium) Train Collision


The location of Hermalle-sous-Huy in Europe.
The site of the accident seen from above, both trains came from the west (left hand side of the image).

The trains involved

A type Falns ballast car owned by Ermewa, identical with those making up the freight train.
A double-traction of AM 96-series multiple units identical to the one involved in the accident, photographed in 2017.

The accident

Signal B222 as shown in the report, it’s not clear if this photo was taken by the freight train’s driver or if it is a recreation.
  • Cut power to the traction-motors and beginning a controlled deceleration
  • Acknowledge signal in the train control system
  • Obeying instructions by the signal and possible additional instructions from dispatch until told otherwise
  • Pause any communication with others, in person or via the radio
Two belgian railway signals, the left hand one showing “expect stop” (double yellow) and the right hand one showing “stop”.
The wreckage of E3820 photographed the morning after the accident.


Responders working to access the passengers of the overturned train cars.
An investigator walking next to the remains of the rear freight car.
Investigators examining the remains of E3820’s leading car.
Investigators standing in the wreckage of the two trains.

History repeats itself

The aftermath of the 2008 collision. Again, the train driver had braked too late while speeding.



Train crash reports and analysis, published weekly.

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