Letter to the Editor

Sir - I thought your reporting and analysis of the Eschede disaster was excellent (RG 7.98 p435, 449). I would only add one item to your list of root causes for the investigators to examine. That is the original track design and location of points.

The complexity of high speed trains makes accidents almost inevitable - probability dictates that even the Japanese shinkansen should be expected to have an accident. Therefore, design of all aspects of the railroad should include ways to ameliorate the effects of an accident.

The question that should then be raised is why points were located so close to a bridge. If the points were not present, the ICE would still have derailed, but it would not have encountered a check rail which propelled part of the train into the bridge. Hopefully at some point in the investigations, the interplay between track design and track-side hazards will be highlighted.

Jon Burden
London, Great Britain