CZECH private passenger operator RegioJet withdrew its fleet of 16 type Bcmz couchette coaches from service on June 8 after the underframe of one car was found to have fractured completely in the head-on collision at Pardubice.

A RegioJet overnight service is believed to have passed a signal at danger when departing from Pardubice on June 5, resulting in the collision with a ČD Cargo intermodal service, which caused four fatalities.

The ongoing investigation into the accident has revealed that the underframe of the first couchette car behind the locomotive of the RegioJet train fractured completely between the first and second compartment. RegioJet says that this structural weakness was the cause of the four fatalities.

The damaged couchette car at Pardubice. Photo Credit: Michal Fanta - HZS ČR

The type Bcmz cars were originally built for Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) in the 1980s.

RegioJet’s own investigation has revealed that a coach of the same type and built by the same manufacturer suffered an identical structural failure in an accident which took place at Salzburg on April 20 2018, in which 54 passengers were injured.

However, the force that the type Bcmz coach was subjected to during the Pardubice collision was at least 30 times greater than that at Salzburg, as the head-on crash took place at higher speed with a train weighing 20 times more.

This prompted RegioJet to withdraw the type Bcmz cars with immediate effect. They will be gradually replaced with other coaches from the RegioJet fleet to ensure that overnight services can continue to operate.