The Harmelen train disaster occurred on Monday January 8 1962 at 9:19 pm near the Utrecht village Harmelen located on the railway Utrecht - Rotterdam . The collision between two passenger trains were 93 dead and 52 wounded, making it the largest train disaster in the history of the railways in the Netherlands is. Although this incident was known as the Harmelen train disaster, it took place in the hamlet of De Putkop, in the territory of the then neighboring municipality Kamerik . The dead were therefore added to the death register of the municipality Kamerik. In 1964 The Putkop added to Harmelen.

Content Edit

  • 1 Associated trains and conditions
  • 2 Timeline
  • 3 Consequences
    • 3.1 Express Train 164
    • 3.2 Stoptrein 464
  • 4 Victims
  • 5 Aftermath
    • 5.1 Research
    • 5.2 Process
    • 5.3 Measures
    • 5.4 Monument
  • 6 Literature
  • 7 External links

Involved trains and conditions [ edit ] Edit

In the accident involved two trains. The first was slow train 464 ( Rotterdam - Gouda - Woerden - Breukelen - Amsterdam ). The train departed at ± 9.15 from Woerden with an estimated 180 travelers on board. The train consisted of two trains, a total of six trays .

The other train was involved express train 164 ( Leeuwarden - Zwolle - Amersfoort - Utrecht CS - Rotterdam ) with around 900 passengers.

At the time of the disaster, there was a dense fog in the polder where the line of Breukelen to Woerden floor joined on the line from Utrecht to Gouda. At the time of the accident were done already testing the train control system ATB , but this was not built on the track at Harmelen or in one of the trains involved.

[Timeline Edit ] Edit


  • The express train does not pass in Harmelen connection because 6-minute delay.
  • The dispatcher suggests the slow train of roadway in the direction of Woerden Breukelen, for the express train has not yet been reported.


  • The slow train rides the last signal for Harmelen Connection passed to floor ride the branch to Breukelen there.
  • The express train is near Harmelen connection and automatically joins the signalman.
  • The express train runs at 125 km / h, the yellow signal beyond that precedes on braking distance at the red signal for the split. The driver does not notice the yellow signal.


  • The driver of the express train sees the red signal, put a brake application, but can not prevent it from 107 km / h almost frontally collides with the slow train.

[Effects edit ] Edit

Express train 164 [ edit ] Edit

The locomotive is thrown right at impact and the first coach of the local train and the express train into place. The next four carriages of the express train derailed and graze the local train. The remaining six carriages of the express train stay on track.

Stoptrein 464 [ edit ] Edit

The first carriage of the four-part train set is completely destroyed by the slide in the express train carriage. The second carriage is torn open on the side, the third carriage is mangled between the first carriage and the carriages of the glancing express train. The last car of the four car unit and the entire two car unit stay (although damaged by the quick stop) in the track.

Victims [ edit ] Edit

91 people, including the two drivers, were killed in the crash, and 54 others are seriously injured. Two seriously injured died later in hospital.

[Aftermath Edit ] Edit

[Research edit ] Edit

A major public inquiry was begun by the Railway Accident Board . The new NX installation of traffic control post in Woerden was examined for technical faults. It has been determined that the spot "missed" yellow signal actually yellow light radiated and the last signal for Harmelen from Utrecht red light. The speedometer band of the locomotive of the express train showed that the driver is not started brakes after the yellow signal. In observation of the red signal is he started braking, but his speed of 125 km / h was too high before the exchange on which the local train drove to stop.

[Process edit ] Edit

The court, which dealt with the matter under great publicity, was expanded to include experts in the field of railway engineering.

[Measures edit ] Edit

The current flyover near the site of the disaster

Following this accident is the introduction of automatic train control (ATP) accelerated in the Netherlands: 25 years later, most of the rail network equipped with ATB. A second safety-enhancing measure is applied since then is that signals on braking distance for splits, bridges and other danger points outside stations, preceded by reflective yellow beacons.

In the 90s, is in Harmelen a flyover built making the floor cross belongs to the past.

Monument [ edit ] Edit

Monument to the Victims

On January 8, 2012 was Pieter van Vollenhoven unveiled a monument to the victims of the disaster, which had exactly fifty years ago celebrated on that day. Ries van Leeuwen was the coordinator for the placement of the monument. The organization of the unveiling was held by the Dorpsplatform Harmelen.

The monument was designed by the Kamerik artist Taeke de Jong and the stonemason was Maurice van Dam from Woerden. The design consists of two stone slabs that skewed relative to each other and which are the 93 names of those who perished. Between the plates is the place to see the disaster. A red stone base, topped with a body that represents the victims, is something for the plates in the middle.

On the newly unveiled monument proved to be written include several names of victims wrong, arise because the list from a handwritten report is taken at that time after the disaster has been drawn. The monument was then adapted by the artist with a new list of names.