A subway train in the Netherlands was saved from a massive crash after it burst through buffers and landed on an artwork in the shape of a whale tail.
Around 12:30 a.m. local time, the train “shot through on approach,” said RET, the transport operator.
“To our relief, the metro operator got out of the vehicle unharmed. He is doing well under the circumstances. There were no passengers present,” the company said.
RET is conducting an investigation and discussing how best to salvage the train.
The train would have crashed more than 30 feet to the ground had it not landed on one of the two whale tails installed by architect Maarten Strujis almost 20 years ago.
He said: “I could never have imagined it that way, but it saved the operator’s life. The damage is an afterthought.
“I am amazed that it is so strong. When plastic has stood for 20 years, you don’t expect it to hold up a metro train.”
The artwork, Saved by the Whale’s Tail, was erected in 2002 by the De Akkers station in Spijkenisse on the outskirts of Rotterdam, in the Dutch province of South Holland. It is made of reinforced polyester.
The front carriage of a train that landed on a sculpture of a whale’s tail has been painstakingly lifted clear of the artwork and lowered to the ground
Two cranes held the train up with chains, placed at both ends of the front carriage to support it, as workers cut it loose from the rest of the train
Workers lifted the train from the artwork after it crashed through the station buffer and was suspended in the air. The driver of the train was shaken but was unharmed
The local security authority said the driver was interviewed by police on Monday as part of the investigation into the cause of the crash and allowed to go home.
The runaway train crashed through the station buffer at 12.30am, landing on a giant whale sculpture 25ft in the air.
Instead of plunging into the water below, the front carriage ended up suspended dramatically in the air, propped up only by the silver cetacean.
A metro train crashed through a buffer stop and landed on a 25ft-high whale artwork near De Akkers station in Spijkenisse, Netherlands, on November 2
The emergency services were seeking to secure the scene on Monday. “Given the complexity, this will take some time,” a spokesman for the Rotterdam-Rijnmond safety region said. “It will be quite an exercise to get that thing off and get it safe.”
It was as yet unclear what caused the train to overrun the station.
The train ran through the station buffer at 30 minutes past midnight last night, at De Akkers metro station in the city of Spijkenisse