A collision of two trains in south-western Czech Republic has killed at least three people and injured dozens, leaving several in critical condition.

It occurred near the Bavarian border when a Western Express train from Munich crashed into a regional passenger train from Plzen after crossing a stop signal.

At the turnout, the express train passed the stop signal for unknown reasons and steered onto a single-track line.

Local media reported that both train drivers and a female passenger died in the accident.

A regional emergency service spokeswoman was quoted by the Czech News Agency (CTK) as saying: “Among the injured, five people are in very serious condition and four in serious condition.”

Several rescue services and the České Drahy (CD) emergency managers are currently active on-site.

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According to Czech TV (CT) reports, the railway inspection is investigating the exact cause of the accident.

As of now, it is unclear whether it was a driver’s or dispatcher’s mistake or a technical failure.

Rail transport company Die Landerbahn stated that it is responsible for the operation of trains only on German territory and the site of the accident is under Czech Railways’ control.

Traffic at the location of the crash is controlled remotely by a dispatcher.

CT reported that the track is installed with signals and a relay safety device but not an ETCS system, which can automatically stop the train at a distance.

The Irish Times reported that two Czech trains collided and killed three people in July 2020.

The Czech rail network, which supports the operations of 2.7 million trains annually, covers 9,000km, featuring the modern electronic signalling’s deployment of less than 7%.

The Czech Government recently announced it will invest $4.61bn (€3.9bn) over the next two decades in modernising rail signals to a new European standard.