The Great Belt Bridge rail accident occurred on 2 January 2019 on the Great Belt Fixed Link in Denmark when a passenger train collided with a semi-trailer from or on a passing freight train. The Great Belt Fixed Link is an 18 km (11 mi) long bridge–tunnel connection between the Danish islands of Zealand and Funen, and the accident happened on the West Bridge, near Funen. The accident happened during a storm, which had closed down the bridge for road traffic, but not for rail traffic.
The interim findings from the National Investigation Body (NIB) of Denmark show that semi-trailers may not be sufficiently secured against movement when transported on pocket wagons. In particular, the mechanism that ensures the locking of the kingpin in the hitch (type FW6170) of the pocket wagons was found to be unlocked on several occasions. This is why the Danish NIB issued a safety alert and the Danish National Safety Authority (NSA) of Denmark notified a request to launch a Joint Network Secretariat (JNS) Urgent Procedure.
The JNS Panel, representing the entire railway sector, agreed and established a task force which was organised and chaired by the European Union Agency for Railways.
The task force was composed of experts from the concerned sector organisations and has defined an action plan containing short-term mitigation measures. The action plan is now available on the website of the European Union Agency for Railways: European Action Plan.
These measures aim at ensuring:
- appropriate maintenance of the hitch and in particular of the mechanism to lock the kingpin;
- correct positioning of semi-trailers on the pocket wagon for the entire duration of the trip;
- and the vertical locking of the semi-trailers’ kingpin.
The investigation report is available on the website of the Danish investigation body: https://en.havarikommissionen.dk/railway-archive/2019/2019-2-final/.