Bad Aibling rail accident

Bad Aibling rail accident

ET 325, the eastbound unit, photographed in 2015
Location within Germany
Date 9 February 2016
Time 06:48 CET (05:48 UTC)
Location Bad Aibling, Bavaria
Country Germany
Rail line DB Netze Mangfall Valley Railway
Operator Bayerische Oberlandbahn "Meridian"
Type of incident Head-on collision
Cause Under investigation
Trains 2
Passengers 150+
Deaths 11[1][2][3][4][5]
Injuries 82[2][3][4][6]

On 9 February 2016, two Meridian-branded passenger trains were involved in a head-on collision at Bad Aibling in southeastern Germany. In total 11 people died and 150 others were injured, including 20 seriously.[1][2][3][4][6][5]


Location of the disaster
ET 355, westbound unit, photographed in 2014

The accident occurred just after 06:48 CET (05:48 UTC) on the single-track Mangfall Valley Railway (German: Mangfalltalbahn) on a curve between the stations of Kolbermoor and Bad Aibling-Kurpark close to the Bad Aibling sewage works in Bavaria.[7][8] As of 11 February 2016, a total of 11 people had died, including the guard on each train and all four drivers, as both trains had instructors present in addition to the drivers. In total 82 people were injured, 20 seriously and 62 less seriously.[1][2][4][6][5][9][10][11][12]

The two trains were Stadler FLIRT3 multiple-units, operated under the Meridian brand by the Bayerische Oberlandbahn (BOB), a subsidiary of Transdev Germany.[13][14] The eastbound train was a six-car unit with 333 seats (ET 325), scheduled to run from Munich to Rosenheim, while the westbound train was a three-car unit with 158 seats (ET 355), scheduled to run from Rosenheim to Holzkirchen.[15][16] There were more than 150 passengers on board the two trains,[17] considerably fewer than usual because of Carnival holidays.[18] The trains were equipped with a total of three train event recorders.[14] The line and both trains were equipped with the Punktförmige Zugbeeinflussung (PZB) train protection system, which is designed to reinforce line-side signalling and prevent drivers from accidentally passing signals at danger.[19]

The eastbound and westbound trains were timetabled to pass each other at Kolbermoor railway station, with the westbound train (M 79506) towards the direction of Munich timetabled to wait for five minutes for the eastbound train from Munich (M 79505) to arrive.[20] The westbound train departed Kolbermoor on schedule but the eastbound train was four minutes behind schedule. Each train was travelling at about 100 kilometres per hour (60 mph) at the time.[9]

Rescue operation

Bad Aibling rail accident

from Holzkirchen

27.8 Bad Aibling
28.6 Bad Aibling-Kurpark
Bad Aibling sewage works

30.3 Site of head-on collision


33.0 Kolbermoor

to Rosenheim
One of the less-damaged carriages
Emergency technology train ready for operation in Kolbermoor

The rescue operation involved a total of approximately 700 emergency service workers,[21] including 180 firefighters, 215 Bavarian State Police officers, 50 Federal Police officers, 30 federal civil protection employees of Technisches Hilfswerk, 200 rescuers from the Bavarian Red Cross, including from Water Rescue and Mountain Rescue units.[21] A total of 11 helicopters took part in rescue efforts. Air ambulances from both Germany and Austria were used to transport the injured to hospital.[22]

The site of the accident was difficult to reach because it lies between the Stuckenholz forest and the canalised Mangfall river (Mangfallkanal). This made rescue work considerably more difficult, meaning rescue workers had to be transported by boat and casualty extraction supported by air ambulance.[23] Injured people were extracted by boat across the canalised Mangfall river to the opposite bank.[7]

Recovery operation

On 9 February 2016, two breakdown cranes belonging to the DB Netze Emergency Technical department (DB Netz Notfalltechnik) were dispatched from Fulda and Leipzig to assist in recovery and removal of the two damaged trains.[24] The crane from Fulda is capable of lifting 160 tonnes, and the second crane from Leipzig is capable of lifting 75 tonnes.[25]


German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt visited the site of the accident. He said it was a "horrifying sight". Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said that it was "difficult to comprehend" how the accident happened.[9] Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "dismayed and saddened" by the crash.[9] German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated: "My deepest sympathy goes to their families."[26] Minister-President of Bavaria Horst Seehofer said "The whole of Bavaria has been shaken".[27]

As a result of the accident, the carnival celebrations on Shrove Tuesday in Rosenheim, Bad Aibling and the surrounding area were cancelled.[28] The traditional political debates on Ash Wednesday in Lower Bavaria were called off.[29]


The German Rail Accident Investigation Agency (Eisenbahn-Unfalluntersuchungsstelle des Bundes, EUB) opened investigation number 04/2016 into the accident.[30] The German police opened a separate investigation.[3] Police confirmed that nine of the eleven deaths had been identified as being local men from the districts of Rosenheim and Traunstein aged 24–59.[31] The cause of this accident was unclear.[32] By the evening of 9 February 2016, Federal Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt reported that two of the trains' three train event recorders had been recovered. The third was still located in one of the wedged train carriages.[33] On 12 February it was announced that the third event recorder had been recovered. Police said that the recorder was damaged, but attempts would be made to extract the data. Data from the other two recorders had so far provided no indication of human error.[34]

The newspapers of the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND, including the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung) reported informal notes from investigators that a train dispatcher at the signalling centre in Bad Aibling had allowed a delayed train to proceed on the single-track section and before it reached the double-track station, the other train at that station was allowed to proceed onto the single-track section despite the automatic exit signal showing red.[35] This was dismissed by the investigating police as "pure speculation".[10]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Polizei Oberbayern Süd (11 February 2016). "leider 11. Todesopfer zu beklagen - Mann erliegt in Klinik Verletzungen" [Regrettably 11 fatalities - man succumbed to injuries in hospital] (published at 17:23 CET). Twitter (in German). Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Polizei Oberbayern Süd (11 February 2016). "Schreckliches Zugunglück bei Bad Aibling; 11. Todesopfer im Krankenhaus verstorben; alle Toten identifiziert; 20 Schwerverletzte und 62 Leichtverletzte; schwierige Bergungsarbeiten am Unglücksort gehen heute weiter; 3. Blackbox noch nicht geborgen" [Terrible train accident in Bad Aibling; 11th fatality died in hospital; all the dead identified; 20 seriously injured and 62 slightly injured; difficult salvage operations at the accident continuing this day; third black box not yet recovered] (published at 13:17 CET, updated later) (Press release) (in German). Bayerische Polizei. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 10. Todesopfer identifiziert werden: es handelt sich um einen 38 Jahre alten Mann aus dem Landkreis Spree-Neiße (Brandenburg). Im Laufe des heutigen Donnerstag erlag ein 47 Jahre alter Mann, der aus dem Landkreis München stammt, seinen schweren Verletzungen, damit erhöht sich die Zahl der Todesopfer auf 11. Daneben sind jetzt noch 20 Schwerverletzte bekannt und 62 leichtverletzte Menschen.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Polizei Oberbayern Süd (10 February 2017). "#BadAibling - 10 Todesopfer (keine Steigerung mehr zu erwarten), keine Person vermisst, kriminalpolizeiliche Ermittlungen laufen" [10 deaths (with no expected increase), no missing person, Police investigation underway] (published at 08:21 CET). Twitter (in German). Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Polizei Oberbayern Süd (9 February 2016). "Schreckliches Zugunglück bei Bad Aibling; bislang 10 Tote; 1 Mensch noch vermisst; 17 Schwerverletzte und 63 Leichtverletzte; bis zu 700 Helfer im Einsatz; Staatsanwaltschaft und Kripo ermitteln zur Ursache" [Terrible train accident in Bad Aibling; so far 10 dead; 1 person still missing; 17 seriously injured and 63 slightly injured; up to 700 helpers in use; prosecutors and detectives identify the cause] (published 17:05 CET) (Press release) (in German). Bayerische Polizei. Retrieved 9 February 2016. 63 Menschen, so der Stand jetzt, wurden dabei leicht verletzt. 17 Menschen wurden schwerverletzt, 9 Menschen konnten nur mehr tot geborgen werden, eine weitere Person verstarb im Laufe des Tages in einem Krankenhaus.
  5. 1 2 3 "Lokführer ist elftes Todesopfer" [Train driver is eleventh death]. Tegernseer Stimme (in German). 11 February 2016.
  6. 1 2 3 "Polizei dementiert dringenden Verdacht gegen Fahrdienstleiter" [Police strongly deny suspicion of signaller]. Tages Spiegel. Nachdem ein Opfer am Dienstagabend im Krankenhaus gestorben war, liegt die Zahl der Schwerverletzten nun bei 17.
  7. 1 2 "Zugunglück in Bayern: Mehrere Tote und rund 90 Verletzte" [Train accident in Bavaria: More dead and about 90 injured]. Salzburger Nachrichten (in German). 9 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016. die Wasserwacht, die die Verletzten von der direkt an dem Flüsschen Mangfall gelegenen Unfallstelle an das gegenüberliegende Ufer brachte. … in einer Kurve zwischen den Bahnhöfen Kolbermoor und Bad Aibling-Kurpark in der Nähe des Klärwerks von Bad Aibling zusammengestoßen. … die Züge an der Stelle bis 120 Stundenkilometer fahren, wie die Deutsche Bahn erläuterte.
  8. "Mehrere Tote bei Zugunglück in Oberbayern" [Death toll rises in Upper Bavaria train accident]. Die Welt (in German). 9 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016. zwei Meridian-Züge des Betreibers Transdev gegen 7 Uhr auf der eingleisigen Strecke kollidiert. Das Tempo auf der Strecke beträgt normalerweise rund 120 Stundenkilometer. Ein Zug sei nahe des Klärwerks bei Bad Aibling … Die Bahnstrecke zwischen Holzkirchen und Rosenheim (Mangfalltalbahn) ist auf unbestimmte Zeit gesperrt.
  9. 1 2 3 4 "Germany train crash: Several killed in Bavarian town of Bad Aibling". BBC News Online. 9 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016. …drivers of both trains and two train guards were among those killed, regional broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk said, quoting police.
  10. 1 2 "Germany train crash: Controller error theory dismissed". BBC News Online. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  11. "Weselsky: Vier Lokführer in den Unglückszügen von Bad Aibling" [Weselsky: Four train drivers in the Bad Aibling accident trains]. (in German) (Nürnberger Nachrichten). 10 February 2016.
  12. "Ticker zum Zug-Unfall: Unglück von Bad Aibling: Zehntes Todesopfer identifiziert" [Train accident ticker: Bad Aibling accident: Tenth person killed is identified]. Münchner Merkur (in German). 11 February 2016.
  13. "Streckensperrung Holzkirchen - Rosenheim nach schwerer Kollision zweier Meridian-Züge zwischen Kolbermoor und Bad Aibling" [Rail line closed between Holzkirchen and Rosenheim following a serious collision between two Meridian trains between Kolbermoor and Bad Aibling]. Bayerische Oberlandbahn website (in German). Retrieved 9 February 2016. Sehr geehrte Fahrgäste, aufgrund eines schweren Unfalls ist unsere Seite derzeit eingeschränkt erreichbar.
  14. 1 2 Harloff, Thomas; Scharnitzky, Ralf (9 February 2016). "So ist die Strecke technisch gesichert" [How technology protected the railway section]. Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 9 February 2016. Züge des Typs Stadler Flirt3 … Die beiden verunglückten Züge, deren Name eine Abkürzung für Flinker Leichter Innovativer Regional Triebzug ist, verfügen über insgesamt drei Black Boxes. (English: Stadler FLIRT3 Train ... The trains involved in the accident had, in total, three black boxes. The name is an acronym for Fast Light Innovative Regional Train.)
  15. Harloff, Thomas; Scharnitzky, Ralf (9 February 2016). "So ist die Strecke technisch gesichert" [How the track has been technically secured]. Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 9 February 2016. Die BOB setzt 28 sechsteilige Züge von jeweils 107 Metern Länge und mit 333 Sitzplätzen ein. Hinzu kommen sieben dreigliedrige, 59 Meter lange und mit 158 Sitzplätzen ausgerüstete Bahnen. (English: The BOB has 28 six-car trains. Each is 107 m long with 333 seats. After these came 7 three-car units, 59 m long with 158 seats.)
  16. "Elektrotriebwagen deutscher Privatbahnen" [EMUs German private railways]. Drehscheibe Online (in German). Retrieved 9 February 2016. 94 80 1427 005-2 D-BOBy, Bayerische Oberlandbahn GmbH, ET 355, Stadler 39407-39409 Bj.2014, Abn: Velten 27.06.2014, 09.02.2016 Frontalzusammenstoß mit 1430 025 bei Bad Aibling … 94 80 1430 025-5 D-BOBy, Bayerische Oberlandbahn GmbH, ET 325, Stadler 39595-39600 (39601) / Bj.2013, Abn: 17.02.2014, 09.02.2016 Frontalzusammenstoß mit 1427 005 bei Bad Aibling
  17. Bacchi, Umberto (9 February 2016). "Germany train crash: Conductors 'did not have time to break in deadly high-speed collision' at Bad Aibling". International Business Times. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  18. "Deadly German Train Crash Injures at Least 150". 9 February 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  19. "So funktioniert das Zugsicherungssystem PZB" [How the PZB (intermittent automatic train running control) train protection system worked]. tz (newspaper) (in German). 9 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  20. "Die Züge hätten sich in Kolbermoor begegnen müssen" [The trains would have to meet in Kolbermoor]. Die Welt (in German). 9 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016. Fahrplanmäßig hätten sich die Züge in Kolbermoor begegnen müssen. "Warum dies nicht so geschah müssen nun die Ermittlungen klären", so der bayerische Innenminister Joachim Herrmann.
  21. 1 2 "Herrmann: Unfallort kaum erreichbar" [Accident site difficult to access, Herrmann says]. ZDF Liveblog (in German). Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  22. "Doden bei treinramp Beieren" [Deaths by train crash in Bavaria] (in Dutch). De Telegraaf. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  23. "Zugunglück in Bayern: Zahl der Todesopfer steigt auf zehn" [Train crash in Bavaria: Death toll rises to ten]. (in German). Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  24. "Zugunglück: Bahn schickt spezielle Bergezüge aus Fulda und Leipzig" [DB dispatches special trains from Fulda and Leipzig]. Hit Radio FFH (in German). 9 February 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. Die Deutsche Bahn hat zwei spezielle Kran-Züge aus Fulda und Leipzig zum Ort des Zugunglücks in Bad Aibling geschickt. Die 160-Tonnen-Maschinen sollen mithelfen, die zerstörten Waggons und Loks zu bergen.
  25. "Fuldaer Rettungszug nach Bahnkatastrophe im Einsatz". Hessischer Rundfunk (in German). 10 February 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. in Fulda stationiertes Notfallteam der Deutschen Bahn ist am Mittwoch … Der Spezialkran ist Teil einer Rettungs-und Bergungseinheit der Deutschen Bahn, die in Fulda stationiert ist. … Der Notfallkran besitzt eine Tragkraft von 160 Tonnen. … Ein weiterer Notfallkran aus Leipzig mit einer Tragkraft von 75 Tonnen
  26. "FM #Steinmeier mourns the victims of the #BadAibling train crash: "My deepest sympathy goes to their families."". GermanForeignOffice on Twitter. Twitter. 9 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  27. "Die Suche nach der Ursache" (HTML) (in German). Süddeutsche Zeitung. 2016-02-10. Retrieved 2016-02-14.
  28. "Faschingsfeiern abgesagt: "Schwarzer Tag für die Region"" [Carnival celebrations cancelled: "Black day for the region"]. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  29. "Politischer Aschermittwoch vielerorts abgesagt" [Many places have cancelled Political Ash Wednesday]. Deutsche Welle. 9 February 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  30. "Untersuchungen zur Zugkollision zwischen Bad Aibling und Kolbermoor aufgenommen" [Investigation into train collision between Bad Aibling and Kolbermoor] (in German). Eisenbahn-Unfalluntersuchungsstelle des Bundes. 9 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016. Nummer 04 / 2016 Datum 09.02.2016
  31. Polizei Oberbayern Süd (11 February 2016). "Schreckliches Zugunglück bei Bad Aibling; 10 Tote geborgen; keine Vermissten mehr; Bergungsarbeiten der Züge haben begonnen; Ermittlungen von Staatsanwaltschaft und Kripo laufen" [Terrible train accident in Bad Aibling; 10 dead recovered; no more missing persons; Salvage of the trains has begun; Investigation by prosecutors and detectives underway] (published at 09:06 CET) (Press release) (in German). Bayerische Polizei. Retrieved 11 February 2016. Bei den 10 Getöteten handelt es sich um 9 Männer im Alter zwischen 24 und 59 Jahren. Alle stammen aus den Landkreisen Rosenheim und Traunstein. … Unter der Leitung der Staatsanwaltschaft Traunstein begannen am Morgen am Unglücksort die Bergungsarbeiten. … Danach kann möglicherweise die noch fehlende, dritte Blackbox gefunden werden.
  32. Bendixen, Oliver; Bohrer-Glas, Dagmar; Binder, Julia (9 February 2016). "Bahnunglück bei Bad Aibling Zahl der Toten steigt auf vier" [Railway disaster at Bad Aibling: Death toll rises to ten]. Bayerischer Rundfunk (in German). Retrieved 9 February 2016. Beim Zusammenstoß zweier Meridian-Regionalzüge bei Bad Aibling im Landkreis Rosenheim sind mindestens vier Menschen ums Leben gekommen. Das gab die Polizei kurz vor 9.30 Uhr bekannt. Rund 150 Fahrgäste sind verletzt worden.
  33. "Viele Tote und Verletzte bei Zugunglück im oberbayrischen Bad Aibling" [Many dead and injured in train accident in Upper Bavaria Bad Aibling]. Hannoversche Allgemeine (in German) ( 9 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016. Zwei von insgesamt drei Blackboxen seien bereits geborgen, sagte Dobrindt. Eine dritte befinde sich noch in einem der verkeilten Triebwagen.
  34. The Associated Press (12 February 2016). "Police in southern Germany say a third black box has been recovered from the wreck of two trains that crashed head-on Tuesday". Berlin, Germany. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  35. "Zugunglück: Ermittler gehen von menschlichem Versagen aus" [Train crash: Human error investigation]. RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland. 9 February 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016.

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Coordinates: 47°50′55″N 12°01′46″E / 47.8486°N 12.0295°E / 47.8486; 12.0295 (Bad Aibling rail accident site)

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