Railways flooded in Western Europe
Heavy rainfall has severely impacted rail traffic in western Europe, in the south of Belgium, west of Germany and south of the Netherlands. Railway lines are flooded, and sometimes completely washed away, and a Belgian NMBS passenger train derailed. The damage of the tracks is considerable, and it will take a while before traffic is back to normal, said infrastructure manager Infrabel.
While heavy rainfall gradually decreased in neighbouring countries on Wednesday night, in Belgium it continues to affect the infrastructure of the country. On Thursday afternoon, it is still raining, and there is no opportunity for the infrastructure manager to start repairing the damages suffered. Due to this, several railway lines are currently disrupted, many of them being part of vital rail freight corridors.
Thursday morning in Grupont, part of the slope of the railway between Namur and Luxembourg has been washed away. The NMBS train that was traveling on the route derailed. Due to the various incidents that occurred on Wednesday and Thursday mornings as a result of the extreme weather, Infrabel decided to shut down train traffic in a large part of Wallonia at 6.00 am on Thursday morning.
Bij #Grupont in de Belgische Ardennen is een stuk van het talud van spoorlijn 162 (Namen-Luxemburg) uitgespoeld. Een AM08 Desirotreinstel van NMBS is hierbij ook ontspoord. #wateroverlast pic.twitter.com/8GYytVZ2b1
— Mark (@CoreIce) July 15, 2021
Lines on main freight corridors
The North Sea Mediterranean rail freight corridor especially seems to be affected. Infrabel provided an overview of the affected railway lines that facilitate freight traffic. Many of these lines are part of this corridor, which connects France, Belgium, the Netherlands and ultimately the UK. Other lines are part of the Rhine Alpine corridor. The lines mostly run though Wallonia, where the rainfall is the most severe.
Less affected is the region of Flanders, said Infrabel. “We are still able to operate trains between the ports of Antwerp, Zeebrugge and Ghent. All freight trains from these ports to France and the Netherlands (in both directions) are also still running”, the infrastructure manager said.
Also still accessible is the terminal Genk Freight, an important local hub. Finally, there is also no interruption of transit traffic between the Netherlands and France that runs through Flanders. “All industrial customers in Flanders can be reached by rail”, according to Infrabel.
Limburg, the Netherlands
In Heerlen, a shunting yard was flooded on Wednesday. Freight transport was also delayed on Wednesday due to the heavy rainfall. According to a ProRail spokesperson, it was slowly restarted on Thursday morning.
Train traffic from South Limburg has also been blocked in the direction of Germany, and is still partially interrupted on Thursday afternoon. This is mainly in the south, as the border crossing at Herzogenrath is currently unavailable. Trains are operated up till this German city, but from here till Aachen the railway line is blocked.
For a more detailed report on the impact of the rain especially on rail freight, take a look at this article.