FOUR people have been killed and 22 injured following a head-on collision between a ČD Cargo intermodal service and a RegioJet overnight train at 22.49 on June 5 at Pardubice, 120km east of Prague.

The locomotives of both trains collided on the east side of Pardubice main station, which has recently been remodelled. According to the police, there were over 300 passengers onboard the 13-car RegioJet train, service RJ 1021 from Prague to Košice and Chop in Ukraine.

The couchette coach behind the RegioJet locomotive fell on its side and was heavily damaged. Both drivers survived the crash.

Czech railway safety authority Dráží úřad has started an investigation and reported on June 6 that the RegioJet train had passed a signal at danger when departing Pardubice. The investigation is now seeking to determine if this was due to a technical fault or human error, or a combination of both.

The accident has caused damage that will cost an estimated Koruna 110m ($US 4m) to repair. Pardubice is a major junction on the Czech Republic’s most important rail corridor, which connects Prague with the east and southeast of the country.

Following work to clear the crash site and repair damage, train operations were able to resume on a limited basis during the afternoon of June 6.

Both Czech transport minister, Mr Martin Kupka, and interior minister, Mr Vit Rakušan, visited the scene of the accident. Also present was RegioJet CEO, Mr Radim Jančura.

“We deeply apologise to those injured and to everyone affected in any way by the accident,” Jančura says.

“We will do everything to support a proper investigation of the event and, following this, we will take appropriate measures.”