A head-on collision of two trains has left nine people dead and 50 people seriously injured on a rail line in Bavaria, Germany this morning, just after 7 a.m. local time.

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According to CNN, the crash happened around the town of Bad Aibling, about 37 miles south of Munich. The crash happened on a single-line regional railway. Both trains were traveling at speeds that, while less than the 75 mph maximum for that section of the line, were still significant. Christian Schreyer, board chairman for Transdev, which operates the railway, told CNN this:

Schreyer said he was still en route to the crash scene from northern Germany, but from what he had heard, the trains were moving at speed when they collided.

“I don’t think that (they) were on full speed, but looking at what has happened, they have been not very slow, let’s say it that way,” he said.

The collision of one train with the other train traveling in the opposite direction caused the trains to essentially drill into one into the other, fusing both trains together in the wreckage.

Transdev at this time does not know how the trains ended up on the same stretch of rail traveling in opposite directions, pretty much the worst possible situation. According to what the chairman of Transdev told CNN:

“We really have no clue how this could happen.”

The trains are equipped with an automatic braking system if triggered by passing through a red signal, and it’s thought to be extremely unlikely that both the automatic systems and the trains’ drivers would have all missed a red signal, suggesting that perhaps the issue had to do with faulty signaling of the trains.

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German and Austrian emergency services are using helicopters to transport victims to hospitals.

More as the story develops.


Contact the author at jason@jalopnik.com.