Earth crumbles under Danish rail track with passengers on board train

Danish transport company Arriva has said it will offer counselling to any passengers who may be affected after a train appeared to narrowly avert a serious incident.

Earth crumbles under Danish rail track with passengers on board train
Rain washed away a section of supporting earth under a local rail line in Denmark. No passengers were reported injured. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Passengers were aboard a local service between Jutland towns Skjern and Herning on Friday when the train crossed a section of track which began to slide after an earth construction underneath it became unstable.

The passengers are reported to have felt a violent shake on the train, although the earth did not crumble away immediately.

No injuries were initially reported but Arriva recorded contact details of passengers on board the service.

Images from the location the following day showed the tracks fully exposed and appearing to hang in mid-air after the construction washed away completely in wet weather.

This was not the situation when the train crossed the section, but the earth appears to have been unstable enough for a movement of the rails to be felt.

“We have a train which drove across a place where embankments and foundations to the tracks were becoming washed away by rain from a downpour in the area,” Arriva’s head of security Erik Vestergaard Møller told news wire Ritzau.

The company’s customer service department will “contact the passengers to generally hear how they experienced things and whether they need to talk about things,” Møller said.

Arriva will offer counselling to affected passengers if this is seen to be necessary, he also said.

Prior to the train in question, another train, travelling in the opposite direction, reported surface flooding on surrounding fields to Banedanmark, the national company which manages and maintains the country’s rail tracks. But the first train did not experience an issue with the track itself.

The driver of the following train was alerted and asked to reduce speed in the area. It was at this point that the earth began to slide, according to Møller.

The section will be closed for at least two weeks for repairs.

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Why the electric bicycle is gaining popularity in Denmark

Denmark is known as a cycling nation, but an increasing number of people in the Nordic country are opting for an electric motor on their bicycle.

Why the electric bicycle is gaining popularity in Denmark

The popularity of electric bicycles has charged forwards in Denmark over the last decade.

While very few electric cycles or elcykler were sold in 2011, almost a quarter of all bicycles sold lad year were fitted with electric motors, according to a new report from the Danish Roads Directorate (Vejdirektoratet).

The report is based on a survey of around 3,000 people in Denmark.

While the electric bike has traditionally been seen as a mode of transport for older members of society, its use has become more widespread according to the Minister of Transport, Thomas Danielsen, who said he welcomed the increased use of electric bikes.

The minister noted that 32 percent of electric cycle-owning Danes are now under the age of 40, pointing out its use in rural locations with less public transport coverage.

“When you live somewhere where buses don’t leave eight times an hour, you need an alternative. In this sense it’s positive that the electric bicycle is gaining ground,” he said.

“Where 10-15 kilometres is too much for pure pedal power, the electric bicycle can make (cycling) a genuine alternative for daily transport,” he said.

The electric cycle is most popular in regional towns, where 16 percent currently opt for the chargeable bike.

Reasons giving for preferring it in the report were its easier use over long distances and ability to save travelling time compared to the regular push-bike.

Around half of electric bicycle users in the survey said it had fully or partially replaced their car.