Five people died in a car Sweden on Tuesday 22nd June 1999 when the "Volvo train", loaded with truck cabs in
containers en route from Göteborg to a factory in Olofström collided with the car at a crossing east of Borås on the Coast-to-Coast railway. The train weighed 310 metric tonnes and was moving at about 90 km/h; the car was pushed sideways in front of the train a distance of 500 m.
The crossing is equipped with "half gates", meaning gates that cover the right half of the road. Locals say the gates weren't working properly and would be down for hours at a time without any trains coming, and so people would pass them. Rail administration Banverket concedes that communications were inadequate since locals' warnings weren't acted upon. Banverket has no safety hotline but may set one up.
"Half gates" are cheaper than full-width ones but you can zig-zag between them. In any case, all such gates in Sweden, even full-width ones, are flexible making it possible to drive through them even on the electric starter motor. This is a safety feature in case a vehicle's engine fails while it is on the crossing.
© Erik Sandblom 1999
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