Aarhus light rail train bumps into car during test run

A train collided with a private car during testing of the yet-to-open Letbane light railway in Aarhus on Tuesday night.

Aarhus light rail train bumps into car during test run
Photo: Benjamin Nørskov/Polfoto/Ritzau

The collision occurred just before 10:30pm on Tuesday, East Jutland Police spokesperson Jakob Christiansen confirmed to news agency Ritzau.

No injuries resulted from the incident.

The car was driven by a 19-year-old man who whose vehicle was hit by the train as he turned across the tracks, Christiansen said.

The train was moving at low speed when the collision occurred.

Aarhus Letbane head of communication Jens Velling told Ritzau on Wednesday that Aarhus Letbane was confident in its safety procedures.

“We care very much about safety. Our light rail drivers are trained to follow the rules, drive correctly and be considerate to all vehicles,” the communications officer said.

The collision is reported to have occurred as a result of the driver of the car turning left at a junction where that type of manoeuvre is forbidden.

“It is hard to do anything about a car driver turning left where it is forbidden to turn left,” Velling said.

“We have now test driven around 100,000 kilometres. In that period, we have registered two accidents – both small incidents with minimum material damage. In both cases the other party did something they should not have, according to traffic rules,” he added.

Initially scheduled to begin operations in September, the official opening of the railway was cancelled the day before an expensive opening event after the Danish Transport Authority declared safety procedures put in place by operator Keolis to be insufficient.

The rail has since worked to secure the lacking safety approvals.

Danish Transport Authority director Carten Falk Hansen told Ritzau last month that the end of that process was now in sight. A new decision on when the Letbane will open is expected to be announced following a meeting between operators and authorities on Friday.

Tuesday’s collision is not the first coming-together between one of the new trains and a car. In September, a similar minor incident without injuries was reported after a train came into contact with a car at a busy junction. 

READ ALSO: Aarhus light rail expected to open in December


Odense: Light rail in Danish city delayed until 2022

The new Light Rail (Letbane) in Denmark’s third-largest city Odense will not open until next year. It was scheduled for completion in 2021.

Odense: Light rail in Danish city delayed until 2022
Construction of the light rail in Odense. Photo: Tim Kildeborg Jensen/Ritzau Scanpix

The delay was confirmed by transport minister Benny Engelbrecht in a written notification to parliament.

 “The beginning of operations at Odense Letbane will be delayed from September 1st 2021 until around New Year 2021-22,” the statement reads.

“This is because the company [Odense Letbane, ed,] can confirm that the [contractor] cannot live up to agreed schedule for handover of the transport system, apparently as a consequence of Covid-19,” Engelbrecht also wrote.

In a statement, Odense Letbane said that the primary contractor, Comsa, had recently given notice that the development would be delayed.

“We have recently been able to see that it would be more difficult for Comsa to finish in time for the planned opening. We have naturally maintained pressure on Comsa for as long as possible,” Odense Letbane CEO Mogens Hagelskær said in the statement, which was reported by TV2 Fyn.

“But the primary contractor has now presented a new schedule… and we must unfortunately concede that the light rail will not be able to open until around New Year,” Hagelskær added.

Spanish firm Comsa has said that the ongoing situation related to the coronavirus across Europe has resulted in difficulties in supplying labour and materials for the project in Denmark. The company has also had to adapt its working methods, which involve housing labourers in small groups, TV2 Fyn reports.

In 2017, a light rail system in Aarhus opened after also experiencing construction delays.