“I came driving with 9942, unsure of the exact speed but would think that it was around the maximum permitted speed 60 kilometers per hour, when I hear how the locomotives start to run easily and I expect to get a little push from the carriages. But instead it will be the emergency brake and the train stop very abruptly. “
This is how the train driver begins written report on the high-profile derailment north of Gällivare two weeks ago, when 38 wagons loaded with ore pellets from LKAB on the way to Narvik in Norway derailed between Sikträsk and Lina älv.
New photos and films that Ekot has seen, taken with drones shortly after the derailment, show the devastation from above. The white, lightly snow-covered landscape spreads far and wide in all directions. In the middle of the picture – a black line that divides the landscape, it is freight wagon after freight wagon that stands straight and neatly on the track. In the front part of the train, closer to the two locomotives, the remains of the 38 derailed carriages are compressed in a pile no larger than 50 times 20 meters.
Accident Investigation Board Investigator Eva-Lotta Högberg, who was on site for a week, describes the derailment as very strong and that the bang therefore disfigured the carriages.
– It was a pretty real derailment, you have to say. A lot of railway vehicles that have been compressed and also pushed into the ground.
Pressed into the ground?
– Yes exactly. Because they were pressed together on a very short surface, they had also been pressed down into the embankment.
After watching on wheel axles, parts of the rails and the actual derailment site, the Accident Investigation Board has now entered the next phase. Among other things, they have taken note of the locomotive’s registered speed during the journey, in order to be able to assess whether the speed may be a contributing factor to the incident. They also request documentation on maintenance and inspections of the track and must review them.
– You can see this, for example, is if there have been any indications in advance that there was a problem that may have contributed to the derailment.
Is there anything you can say right now?
– Not at the moment, we are requesting this information.
Ekot has read the driver’s own description of what happened – a report written the day after the derailment. After the train braked in an emergency, the driver did not understand at first that the train had derailed. It was early in the morning and dark – and the suspicion first fell that there was something wrong with the brakes:
“Then I look out the side window from the driver’s seat and there I see that a overhead line pole seems to be leaning against the carriages.”
As fast as it was ensured that the power on that section was completely off, the driver went out to look. It had then begun to lighten somewhat, the report says.
“I call the remote and announce that it does not look good. Did not have to go very far to see that I have derailed.”
The accident investigator Eva-Lotta Högberg says that they are currently waiting for everything they have requested to take part in, and she believes it will take a long time before the investigation is completed.
– Our general goal is to be ready within twelve months. And that is about where such a complex investigation usually takes place as well.