"It was probably excessive speed"

Leuven prosecutors say that excessive speed was probably the cause of the train accident that left one person dead and 27 people injured last month. The prosecutor's office has examined the first findings by the rail expert who is analysing the accident.

It was in the early afternoon of 18 February that a train derailed outside Leuven Station. The first carriage ended up on its side on the verge. A first examination revealed no problems with the carriages, the rails, the points or the signalling.

A speed of 40km/h was recorded after the train left Leuven and passed the first points. The train then soon headed for a cruising speed of 90km/h. Expert analysis shows that by the second points the train had reached a speed of 100km/h. It was then that it derailed. 40km/h is the normal speed at which to pass the second points.

The train driver earlier stated that he thought he could drive at 90km/h at this point. Prosecutors believe the driver may have missed the speed limit signal. The driver says that he immediately put on the breaks when he saw the second points and realised he could not take them at the train's current speed.

Prosecutors note that these are preliminary findings and that detailed research still has to be undertaken. Victims of the accident still need to be questioned too.