View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Monday, 15 February 2010

Monday 15 February

Cold and at times wet today, with wintry showers this afternoon. After a period of milder weather in the Hebrides, air from the Arctic is presently moving south across northern Scotland and will bring snow to the mainland. I'm typing this just after 5.30pm, but it's still light outside. Due to the poor light conditions though, the Arnish Lighthouse has been operating since 4pm.

(Image courtesy Reuters) Two commuter trains have collided head-on south of Brussels, near the town of Buizingen. Eighteen people are now known to have died, with nearly 60 injured. The local service from Quiévrain to Liège crashed into the service from Louvain to Braine-le-Comte. Initial speculation suggested that one of the trains had ignored a red light, but that has been branded as premature. Weather conditions at the time of the accident, 8.30 am local time, were poor with falling snow, but snow is a common occurrence in winter in Belgium and does not normally pose major problems on the rail network.

The Eurostar service between London and Brussels has been suspended until further notice, although trains do run as far as Lille, in northern France. It will take a considerable period of time to clear the wreckage from the tracks. This accident is rated as one of the worst in the history of the Belgian railway NMBS; a crash in the Netherlands in 1962 claimed 92 lives.


  1. A signal passed at danger (SPAD) is being quoted in the press as the cause of this disaster.There is no indication of the authenticity of this report. In the UK any rail crash is investigated by the RAIB and it is often a year before the definitive report is published.

  2. ((Guido))
    I heard about this wreck on CNN early this morning. So terrible.
    Hugs, Gayla

  3. Normally, any train involved in a SPAD incident on the continent will automatically be brought to an immediate halt (Automatic Train Protection or ATP). Whether ATP was operational on this section of track is beyond my scope; I'm not familiar with the Belgian railways other than as a passenger. As you say, Andy, the formal investigation by the Belgian authorities has barely started.