60 injured as 2 trains collide near Netanya station

Police say conductor of Netanya-Tel Aviv train failed to obey a stop light, directed his train to track on which second train was coming from the south.

Netanya train collision 311 (photo credit: Israel Police)
Netanya train collision 311
(photo credit: Israel Police)
Sixty people were hurt on Thursday morning when two Israel Railways passenger trains collided near Netanya after one of the conductors ignored a red light.
Police said a preliminary investigation suggests the conductor of a Netanya-Tel Aviv train failed to obey a stop light and directed his train to a track on which a second train was coming from the south. The trains grazed one another, and two cars were derailed.
RELATED:Tender issued for railway that could reach JordanJ’lem’s light rail suffers 1st accident
Rescue forces said most of those injured suffered light wounds, with one in moderate condition. Emergency services said that the relatively light injuries were a consequence of the slow speed at which the trains were traveling, though several train cars were severely damaged.
Channel 2 reported that the conductor of the train that caused the collision had six prior driving violations. The channel reported that a similar collision was avoided on Tuesday in Haifa. The conductor in that incident was disciplined.
Israel Railways said services between Tel Aviv and Haifa would be suspended until at least Saturday night. Post-accident clean-up work means disruptions and high passenger volume are likely on Friday at stations nationwide.
No rail service will be provided at the Herzilya, Beit Yehoshua, Netanya, Caesarea, Binyamina, Pardess Hanna or Atlit stations. Stops on the Tel Aviv-Modi’in, Tel Aviv-Hod Hasharon and Haifa-Nahariya lines will operate normally.
The Transportation Ministry said an inquiry commission has been established in cooperation with the police. “The committee will examine all of the causes of the collision,” it said, “and will submit its findings and recommendations on how to avoid similar accidents in the future.”
The ministry said the committee would have a month to compile its findings for submission to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.
Israel Railways said the trains’ collision avoidance system prevented a far more serious accident. “The automatic stopping mechanism worked properly, and stopped the train traveling toward Tel Aviv,” it said.
The crash came a day after an Israel Railways passenger train began emitting smoke while traveling from Modi’in to Tel Aviv – the third such incident in just four months. No injuries were reported.
Last month a fire broke out on a Nahariya-Tel Aviv train due to a brake malfunction, but no injuries were reported.
In December, 120 people were hurt when fire broke out on a train carrying 400 people near Netanya due to a gas leak. Three railway cars were entirely burned, and some passengers were forced to evacuate through windows.