Spremberg railway accident

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Spremberg railway accident was the head-on collision of two express trains on August 7, 1905, following a mistake by the driver of the Spremberg station, who was under the influence of alcohol . 19 people died.

Starting position

The railway line between Spremberg and Loop was single-track .

On the late afternoon of August 7, 1905, the D  113 Berlin - Hirschberg and its counter-train, the D 112 Hirschberg-Berlin and - with the same train number - an additional train ran here . The following train D 112 was delayed on the day of the accident, so that the train crossing planned in Bagenz was relocated to Spremberg .

The Zugmeldeverfahren between stations was carried out with Morse telegraph , with the intervening marshals was Läutwerke communicates. Five chimes - pause - five chimes meant: Danger, stop the train with a signal flag or red lantern.

The dispatcher in Spremberg was the station assistant on this shift. He had drunk the previous night. When duty started at 1 p.m. he did not show up, but only three hours later because he missed his train. Already at around 4:30 p.m. he went to the station inn in Spremberg to have another beer. That was only possible because the Spremberg train station worked in an undisciplined manner and the supervision by the station director was negligent. The station assistant was responsible for the Morse code used to communicate with the neighboring block units and to regulate the train sequence, and to keep the train log. In practice, however, these tasks in Spremberg were also carried out by the platform attendant , the porter or the switchman .

the accident

The porter accepted the news of the relocated train crossing, as the station assistant was in the station inn. Until his return, further telegrams were accepted by the switchman and sent by an officer who happened to be present and was not on duty. Meanwhile, the D 113 arrived in Spremberg.

The station assistant had meanwhile taken his place again and the loop train station offered him the D 112 train. He wanted to pass this train report on to the next Bagenz station. However, he forgot to flip a switch on the Morse apparatus, so that this instead of Zugmeldung Bagenz according loop was where it was interpreted as acceptance of the subsequent immigration D 112th Thereupon the dispatcher from Loop gave the D 112 the order to leave . The officer who was not on duty noticed the wrong position of the switch on the morse code machine and repeated the train report to Bagenz, but did nothing further.

When instructing the turnout keepers, the station assistant mixed them up. After that had been clarified, the guard in the direction of Runde initially refused to give the D 113 exit, but then followed the assistant's order. A short time later, both Spremberg and Loop recognized the error and gave warning signals over the line bells. The simultaneous triggering of the alarm signal from both stations made the bells ring non-stop, so that the guards, who would have been able to stop the trains, assumed that the system was malfunctioning and remained inactive.

The trains met at around 5:50 p.m. in a confusing curve, so that adequate braking was no longer possible. A head-on collision followed.


19 people died - including the locomotive crew - and 40 others were seriously injured. Count Heinrich Pelas von Plauen was among the dead. The damage caused was estimated at more than 2 million gold marks - a very high sum at the time .

The station assistant, who had already received several disciplinary sentences, was sentenced to one year and four months in prison , the switchman in Spremberg to one month in prison. The switch keeper in Loop, who had let the train down due to the order of the station assistant, received a month's imprisonment . The litigation and the mild judgments given the misconduct were criticized in professional circles.

The accident was the worst in a series of alcohol-related accidents (cf.: Railway accident in Müllheim (1911) ). In the same year, alcohol consumption was banned while on duty on the Prussian State Railways and it was ensured that non-alcoholic drinks were available at the stations.


  • Hans Joachim Ritzau: Railway disasters in Germany. Splinters of German history . Vol. 1: Landsberg-Pürgen 1979, p. 124ff.
  • Ludwig Ritter von Stockert : Railway accidents. A contribution to railway operations theory. Vol. 1. Leipzig 1913, pp. 157 f., No. 5; Vol. 2 Fig. 3.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ritzau: Eisenbahn , p. 124.
  2. Hans-Joachim Ritzau, Jürgen Hörstel, Thomas Wolski: Shadow of the railway history. 1997, ISBN 3-921304-36-9 , p. 117; von Stockert names: 17 dead, 14 seriously injured and "numerous slightly injured", p. 158.
  3. ^ Berthold Schmidt: Die Reußen, genealogy of the entire house Reuss . Schleiz 1903, plate 14; Detlev Schwennicke: European family tables .NF I.3. Frankfurt a. M. 2000, plate 367.
  4. Von Stockert, p. 158.
  5. ^ Ritzau: Eisenbahn , p. 124.

Coordinates: 51 ° 33 ′ 31.4 "  N , 14 ° 25 ′ 3"  E