Those closest to him and the railway workers said their last goodbyes to the young 30-year-old train driver on Friday, and they want to provide at least some financial relief to the survivors with a fundraiser. “The transparent account was established on January 29 and already has over two hundred thousand crowns in it. We are very grateful for the solidarity,” said Jiří Streit, chairman of the Bohumín train drivers’ federation, adding that the account will be operational by the end of March.
He has only words of praise and appreciation for his deceased colleague. “He was a great boy, a representative of the young generation of train drivers, moreover, university-educated, who fulfilled his childhood dream of driving trains on long-distance lines,” said Jiří Streit.
The accident was accompanied by several tragic coincidences. For the train driver, who worked for Czech Railways for seven years, it was one of his first long-distance journeys with the Ostravan express train. At the same time, he was not originally supposed to sit in the cabin, but as a young entrant, he replaced an older colleague who had taken a vacation.
“Any one of us could have been in that locomotive, it took all of us,” Streit noted.
In addition, the train drivers in Bohumín were supposed to take turns, so Dalibor Ž. there were literally several kilometers left before the end of the ride. Fate? “No, I don’t believe in fate. If everything was there as it should have been, then such a tragedy definitely would not have happened,” Streit stated, but he did not want to comment on anything else about the accident.
The driver had no chance to survive. When, before six o’clock, still in the dark, he apparently came out of the arch and saw the set standing on the rails, he had only a moment to make any decision. The Railway Inspectorate has not yet said whether he managed to engage the speed brake at all.
In any case, he did not even have time to run into the engine room in a robust class 151 locomotive, but at high speed, allegedly more than a hundred kilometers, while up to 140 km/h is allowed in the section. This is precisely what saved the life of the driver of the same type of locomotive in Studénka in 2008, which crashed into a collapsed bridge structure. But it was during the day and the train driver saw the fall of the bridge from a distance of several hundred meters.
The collision of the train with the tractor in Dolní Lutyn in Karvinsk was devastating. The chassis with the drilling rig ended up thrown away in a field, only half of the locomotive remained, the driver died on the spot. Twenty passengers were injured, none of whom were in very serious or even critical condition.
The driver of the tractor says that his low loader got stuck at the crossing and before he could lift it hydraulically, the warning signal sounded, the barriers fell and a speeder drove up.
It is the height profile of the crossing that raises doubts, as it creates a hump in the area of the tracks. On the other hand, it must also be assessed whether it was an excessive load with all the necessary permits and a survey of possible risky places on the route. The drilling rig was driving along a narrow asphalt road to drill piles for the foundations of a new hall on a nearby farm.
The train drivers organized a fundraiser for, for example, partner Jan Černá, who lost both legs as a train driver in an accident in Studénka in 2015, when a Polish truck was standing on the tracks.