Train accident in Bavaria: what we know

Train derailment, five dead: On Friday, one of the worst train accidents in recent years occurred near Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The reason is not clear.

This is the fourth train accident in Germany since 2016 that has killed people. All four incidents occurred in Bavaria. But in Bad Aibling 2016, in Aichach 2018 and in Schäftlarn in February 2022, it was about collisions between two trains. It’s different here.

What we know

the event

On Friday, the regional train RB59458 starts shortly after 12:00 at the train station in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the direction of Munich. On the last day before the holidays, there are also many students on the train with double-deckers at lunchtime. The train did not reach the next train station in Farchant: at about 12.15 noon the train derailed near the Burgren district. Three wagons slide off the tracks that run adjacent to the B2 federal highway. They turn over, and one of them remains on the surface. According to the media, eyewitnesses speak of smoke – but perhaps it was the dust that rose. In less than an hour, more than 500 rescue workers rescue all passengers from the partially destroyed train and transport them to hospitals.


Four women and a teenager died in the accident. Most recently, the fifth victim, a 13-year-old from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, was pulled from under an overturned vehicle on Saturday. Among the dead were two Ukrainian women, aged between 30 and 39. It is said that they fled with their children to Bavaria. In addition, a 51-year-old man from Wiesbaden and a 70-year-old woman from the Munich region died. Police said a 34-year-old woman remained in critical condition. In total, more than 40 people were injured, many of them in serious condition.


Soko “train” was used by the police, sometimes working with about 70 investigators. Also on Tuesday, more than 40 investigators took part in the investigation. An expert from the Federal Bureau of Railway Accident Investigation and an outside expert are also involved. On the other hand, witnesses, including railway employees and passengers, are now being questioned. Several have already been spoken to, said Stefan Sonntag, a press spokesman for Oberbaeren Sued Police Headquarters. “Of course everyone on the train is a potential witness.” On the other hand, the ruins are now being examined. This may take weeks or months.

What we don’t know

the case

One thing is clear: the wagons jumped off the tracks. Experts need to explain why. Apparently, the emphasis is on the rails and the chassis. Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) said that according to local experts, a technical defect was the most likely cause. A similar statement was made by Interior Minister Joachim Hermann (CSU). BR told Monday that the carriages’ hull has been secured and that consideration was also given to whether it was necessary to secure the individual rails or girders. Professor of railroad cars at the Technical University of Berlin, Markus Hecht, told “Wirtschaftswoche” that defective rails are the most likely cause. “In fact, the only possible cause is a trajectory error,” he told the newspaper. “The tracks often only deform while the train is passing over the rails. That is why the lead car remains on the track.” The cause could be a maintenance fault on the track.

possible official

The Munich 2 Prosecutor is investigating three people on the initial suspicion of negligent homicide. The accused are employees of Deutsche Bahn. But what exactly they are accused of, and what role they played – this is not officially known at first. A spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office in Munich II, Andrea Ghraib, confirmed that it was not clear whether railway employees were really complicit in the investigation until the investigation was completed. “As always in such cases, the presumption of innocence applies here until the final completion of the proceedings.”

Possible previous damages

It is not clear if there were problems on the right track before. According to a report published by the newspaper “Die Welt”, the railway is planning to carry out renovations on the road to the accident. Accordingly, from June 25 to July 9 between Oberau and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the positioning of the track and the renewal of the railways should be carried out. The newspaper cites a list of about 3,000 planned actions. Between the 5th and 9th of July the bars must be refurbished in Garmisch-Partenkirchen – the list does not show exactly where. Burgreen, which was the scene of the accident, is a suburb. Deutsche Bahn has not commented due to ongoing investigations.


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