German train crash: The latest in a history of rail accidents

Several people have died in a head-on crash between two trains in southern Germany, which police have described as the "biggest accident" in the region in years.

Germany is well-known for the quality and efficiency of its train services, but the country has witnessed a number of tragic rail disasters in recent times.


In 1998 a high-speed ICE train travelling from Munich to Hamburg derailed in the village of Eschede, Lower Saxony.

A hundred and one people died and around 100 were injured.

It remains Germany's worst rail accident to date.

A crane lifts the carriage of a high-speed train that derailed in Eschede in 1998. Credit: Reuters


Another disaster also happened in the same region in 2006 when a high-tech magnetic train crashed into a maintenance wagon on a test run at a speed of at least 200 km per hour (120 miles per hour).

Twenty-three people were killed and a further 10 were injured in the accident in Lathen.

An aerial view shows the crash site of the high-speed train near Lathen in northern Germany. Credit: Reuters


The most recent train crash to result in fatalities was in 2011 when a passenger train and a cargo train collided in heavy fog on a single-line track near Hordorf.

The passenger train derailed and was catapulted into a nearby field killing ten people and seriously injuring 43.

In 2011 two trains crashed in foggy conditions near Hordorf. Credit: Reuters

German rail disasters since 1990:

  • 1990 - Rüsselsheim - 17 killed and 145 seriously injured

  • 1992 - Northeim - 11 killed and 52 injured, many seriously

  • 1994 - Bad Bramstedt - 6 dead and dozens injured

  • 1998 - Eschede - 101 died and 100 injured

  • 2000 - Brühl - nine people killed

  • 2006 - Lathen - 23 dead and around 10 injured

  • 2011 - Hordorf - 10 killed and 43 seriously injured

A house was destroyed when a train travelling from Amsterdam to Basle crashed in Brühl, Germany, in 2006 Credit: Reuters