The Netherlands Public Prosecution Service (OM) will not proceed with criminal proceedings following the train accident near Voorschoten

The Public Prosecution Service (OM) of the Netherlands will not proceed with criminal proceedings following the train accident near Voorschoten on 4 April 2023. Investigations conducted by the Dutch Labour Inspectorate (NLA) and the National Police Unit (since 1 January 2024, the National Expertise and Operations Unit) did not reveal any criminal offences that led to the accident.


On 4 April 2023, around half past three in the morning, a collision occurred near Voorschoten train station between a freight train and a crane on lorries. The crane was being used for maintenance work on the tracks. As a result of this work, two of the four adjacent tracks were taken out of service. Shortly before completing the work, the crane was being moved back to the crossing point near the station. The plan was to wait there for the rest of the work crew to arrive so they could cross the other two tracks together. The intention was to request the train traffic controller to deactivate these two tracks temporarily, who would then issue a signal for approval accordingly. Before the confirmation of the out of service status was obtained and before the rest of the work crew arrived at the agreed location, the crane operator initiated the crossing and collided with a passing freight train. Debris from the crane and the platform ended up on the adjacent track. The passenger train that passed over that track shortly thereafter collided with the debris, causing it to derail. A number of passengers of this train were injured. The crane operator did not survive the collision.


The investigation by the NLA and police established that the maintenance work was carried out in accordance with industry safety regulations. No deficiencies were found in the communication between the crew leader and the crane operator. It was agreed with the crane operator to wait for the rest of the work crew before crossing. It cannot be determined why the crane operator, despite this agreement, began the crossing earlier. No technical defects were found in the crane, and there is no evidence that the crane operator became unwell or intentionally placed the crane in front of the freight train. The OM therefore concludes that it was an accident. The next of kin of the victim, the involved employees, and the staff and occupants of the passenger and freight trains have been informed of the OM's decision.