Counting Sheep in the Dark: The 2008 Landrücken Tunnel Accident


The location of the northern portal in Europe.
The tunnel on a railway-map (light red/pink) between Mottgers and Kalbach. Note the much curvier old route (orange).
The approximate site of the accident, just south of the northern portal.

The trains involved

ICE 2 number 214, led by motor car 402 014 leaving Cologne Main Station in summer 2019.
The reassembled TZ 111 led by the repaired 401 511 (which led the train during the accident) photographed in 2016. Note the “bump” in the roof line caused by the restaurant car (near the bridge), as mentioned above.

The accident

The speedometer of an LZB-equipped train (right side, kph).
The LZB-Antenna (rusty box) sitting right behind the coupler on a different train.
Scratches on the sleepers to the right of the track, showing where the axle derailed.
The derailed motor car sitting in the dark tunnel after the derailment.
The nose of 401 511, showing severe damage from the derailment and two impacts with the wall.
Looking towards the back of the train, you can see that the cars are barely aligned. You can see the portal in the distance.


The rescue field outside the northern portal the day after the accident.
An image from the simulations performed, taken from the report. I can not explain them.
The cracked concrete sleeper found 6m/20ft behind the initial point of impact.
The recovery of the train being prepared inside the tunnel.
One of the undamaged first class cars being pulled out of the southern portal.
The damaged leading motor car stored at Mottgers on the 29th of April, 3 days after the accident.
The northern portal in 2012, with the new protective fence (and a door for emergency access).
To compare, the southern portal in 2018. Protected from cars but otherwise unprotected.

Train crash reports and analysis, published weekly.