In the early hours of Monday, a subway train in the Netherlands crashed through barriers and would have plummeted 30 feet to the ground if it wasn’t for artwork of a huge whale tail sculpture that saved the train.
The subway cars rolled into De Akkers train station in the Dutch city of Rotterdam around 12.30 a.m. local time. However, the city’s transport operator company, RET, said the train “shot through on approach.” Thankfully there were no passengers on board at the time of the incident.
“To our relief, the metro operator got out of the vehicle unharmed. He is doing well under the circumstances. There were no passengers present,” RET stated.
In addition, RET said an investigation is underway and the company is looking into possible ways to salvage the train.
The subway train unexpectedly smashed through the station’s barriers before halting on the artwork. The barriers lie at the southernmost end of the Rotterdam metro system. The train cars came dangerously close to falling and crashing into the ground 30 feet below the subway platform. Yet, the train instead landed on one of two whale tails created by architect Maarten Struijs almost 20 years ago.
“I was surprised, I didn’t expect this. Buffers are always strong enough,” Struijs said to CNN. “So, I am looking forward to the results of the investigation of this crash.”
Struijs said that the subway trains drop off passengers at the station first. Then they continue on to a parking area, which is where the train crashed through the barriers.
“I’ll make sure to get a few photos. Because now it is at its best, and it will look worse when they prop it up,” Struijs said. “I could never have imagined it.”
Whale Tail Sculpture Not Damaged, Still Holding Subway Train
Struijs used hard plastic when creating the whale tail sculpture. The architect thought the train would damage his artwork because of the accident, “but that’s apparently not the case,” he said.
Ruud Natrop is a communications adviser for the Rotterdam-Rijnmond regional safety authority. He told CNN that the subway train is balancing on the whale tail 33 feet in the air. He said since the location is in a park near a pond, it will be difficult to remove the train with large machinery. Additionally, he said security services are continuously monitoring the stuck train.
“It is very difficult to place heavy cranes at this location,” Natrop said. He added that there is no timetable for how long it may take officials to remove the train from the whale tail sculpture.
According to a spokeswoman for the authority, Carly Gorter, the first step in removing the train is to stabilize it. She said securing the train is imperative to making sure it doesn’t fully fall on the artwork installation, which is named “Saved by the Whale’s Tail.”
“Yeah, it’s dangerous. At the moment it’s stable so that’s good, but it’s a risk,” Gorter explained. “If the wind is blowing very hard, that’s a risk.”