A woman walks on a platform in front of a train as passengers are seen through the carriage windows at Tel Aviv's HaShalom train station, Israel November 25, 2018. Picture taken November 25, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/CORINNA KERN)
A major disaster was averted late Sunday night after a train entered the wrong track near the Kfar Saba–Nordau railway station, where rail workers were carrying out engineering work.
Israel Railways interim CEO Uri Sharir ordered on Monday the establishment of a committee to assess the incident.
Close to midnight, likely due to human error, the passenger train entered the wrong track near the station.
Workers carrying out infrastructure repairs were quickly moved away from the oncoming train, with one worker suffering an injury to his leg during the emergency evacuation.
In addition, the train collided with several gas canisters used for welding, which started to leak gas but did not explode.
The train inspector evacuated the 25 passengers on board to the station, and they were provided with taxis to complete their journeys. The inspector, who returned to check the train, was later taken for medical examinations amid fears of gas inhalation.
“Israel Railways takes this incident seriously, will investigate it thoroughly and draw the necessary conclusions from it,” the company said in a statement.
Immediately after the incident, senior managers and an accident investigator arrived at the scene, and will transfer their findings to the committee appointed by Sharir.
Workshops will be held in the coming days across all operational divisions to refresh workers with safety instructions, Israel Railways said.
“We emphasize once again that the issues of safety and caring for human life are of the utmost importance,” the company told all workers.
“We must all think about safety at all times, and certainly to act according to operating instructions and procedures. They will ensure the continuity of safe operations, for us and for the public.”
Despite the near miss, Israel Railways has witnessed a reduction in rail safety incidents in recent years.
Last year, 63 incidents were investigated, representing a 23% decrease since 2017. The majority of incidents involved vehicles or pedestrians unlawfully entering the tracks.
In April, the company announced the appointment of businessman Michael Maixner as its new chief executive, replacing outgoing head Shahar Ayalon. Maixner’s appointment still requires the approval of both the transport and finance ministers.
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