Fatal Fall: The 1973 Guntershausen (Germany) Train Collision

Background

The location of Guntershausen in Europe, note that at the time of the accident Germany was still divided into two countries.
The site of the accident seen from above today. Guntershausen station can be seen at the bottom, with the two rail lines splitting to either side of it. Both trains came from the north (top of the image).

The trains involved

An Am²⁰²-type first class car identical with the one at the back of the Interzonenzug, photographed in 1982.
DB 216 023, the locomotive pulling D453, photographed in August 1980.
A DB series 110 identical to the one involved in the accident, photographed in 1978.

The accident

The route between Baunatal-Rengershausen (where DC973 started slowing down) and Guntershausen station. Note that D453 was stopped slightly ahead of the station.

Aftermath

The driver’s cab of DB 110 243 photographed after repairs, the series 110 was one of the first locomotives that had the driver sitting down. In the accident the entire desk was pushed across the length of the cabin.
A flat spot on a train car caused by a stuck brake keeping the wheel from spinning properly. The damage on the locomotive’s wheels likely looked similar.
Example of the sanding-pipe on a different locomotive (left) and an ICE 3 high speed train using the sanding-system at speed, creating a large cloud of dust (right).
Responders and civilian helpers standing by as firefighters scale the wreckage of D453’s rear cars.
Firefighters and police-officers standing in the remains of D453’s rear cars.
DB 110 243, the locomotive pulling DC973, photographed for the last time in September 2010.
An ICE 3 high speed train photographed in 2019 approximately where D453 came to a stop.

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Train crash reports and analysis, published weekly.

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