Train Collides With Volkswagen e-Up!, Explosion & Fire Follows (w/video)


Volkswagen e-Up! After The Wreck

Volkswagen e-Up! After The Wreck

Volkswagen e-Up! Catches Fire Following Collision With Train

Volkswagen e-Up! Catches Fire Following Collision With Train


A Volkswagen e-Up! electric car reportedly exploded following an impact with a train.

The story, translated from Norwegian, makes only a little bit of sense to us, but here’s what we could decipher.

Christopher Traasdahl Sæther somehow managed to leave the VW e-Up! on the train tracks after being caught and trying to escape between the “booms,” which block entry onto the tracks when a train is inbound.

Editor’s Note/update:  originally it was believe that Mr. Sæther may have been under the influence of something during the incident, which was not the case

He then exited the car prior to the train striking it. He was uninjured, but as expected, the car was destroyed (loud bang heard by witnesses and described as an explosion).

Moral of story?  Trains always win in collisions with cars.

Luckily, nobody was injured on the train either (189 passengers on board), but when emergency crews arrived to clear the scene, the e-Up! then ignited (thermal runaway, probably) and fire engulfed the vehicle.

Source: Fredriksstad Blad

Categories: Crashed EVs, Volkswagen

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47 Comments on "Train Collides With Volkswagen e-Up!, Explosion & Fire Follows (w/video)"

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I can just imagine the uproar of the press if that was a Tesla. But a VW, nobody cares…
Glad the driver is OK.

First, people would have to be informed that VW sells an electric car called the E-up. Here we only have the E-Golf and nobody even knows about that. But you say Tesla and most people have heard if that. I had someone ask me the other day, when did Nissan start making electric cars? My response, about 5 years ago exactly if you’re talking about my Leaf. But electric cars have been around for over 100 years. I lost them at that point.

You should see the train.

A software fix will not help here, I am afraid

Look at all those emissions while the car is on fire! It’s a conspiracy!!!11!one!!

If you’ve seen old episodes of ChiPs, you know how flammable gas cars are. I still love that show, about the only show on TV that regularly feature poetry in motion (motorcycle riding), and flaming gas cars are just dressing on top.

Your comment is surprising. I would have guessed in your favorite TV show a train crashes into a SparkEV and the train explodes …


Now THAT would be a great funny commercial for SparkEV. If Chevy is smart, they should hire you for commercials! 🙂

That is sarcasm, right?

I’ve seen old episodes of CHiPs also. They always put ramps behind cars and out of view to make the cars fly though the air whenever there is an collision.

I’m finding the explosion part a little hard to believe. There is nothing held at high pressure inside of such a vehicle that could explode. Burn yes, explode? I don’t think so. I suspect it was just the sound of the train hitting the car. I mean, how often do people hear trains colliding with cars in order to be able to tell the difference in sounds?

I take that back.. the tires are pressurized with air.. could have been those.

There was no explosion. The impact between the car and train was hard.

The “hard impact” is translated wrongly to “explosion”.

Eyewitnesses always report “explosions”.

In the first photo, rescue crew is already at the side and no fire. That must be several minutes after the impact. The burning car looks also to be at a different location on the street. They might have towed it back and that caused a short circuit and ignited the car.

The closest thing to an eye witness was the driver – running away with his back towards the impact.

He explicitly states that there was no explosion, ref: “Men det smalt mindre enn det gjør på film”, meaning “There was no bang/explosion like in the movies”.


Norway has autonomous trains?

If you had ever heard – particularly, close at hand – a reasonably high speed car-Vs-car collision (let alone a train Vs car one) you would describe the noise as ‘an explosion’, believe me! But also, yes, if a fire engulfs the car, the tyres will make a suitably impressive ‘bang’ in due course. Petrol tank, not so much, contrary to ChiPs and most other TV/movie plots. MW

“Christopher Traasdahl Sæther (Editor’s note: perhaps was apparently drunk – translation is a bit iffy) and somehow managed to leave the VW e-Up! on the train tracks after being caught between the “booms,”
I would think the car would fare better w/a collision through the booms vs a collision w/a train. This seems fishy to me.

…to me, it seemz rather boozy 😉

kdawg said:

“I would think the car would fare better w/a collision through the booms vs a collision w/a train. This seems fishy to me.”

In an emergency, irrational behavior does not require being drunk or stoned. It just requires being human.

As they say: “If you can keep your head while all around you are losing theirs, then you have failed to appreciate the gravity of the situation!”

If he was drunk, that would have been the main focus of the news articles.

Simply, trafikk stopped at the crossroads just after the railroad crossing. Instead of waiting on the other side of the trackes, he just followed the cars ahead of him. Then the trains approached, and the gates/booms were lowered in front+back of the car – which was stuck on the railroad tracks.

The driver first left the car and tried to open the gates with no luck, then was about to re-enter the car to try and move it – when he saw the train approaching. Then he chose to run away instead.

– end of story. No explosion, No immediate fire. No more drama than a train hitting a ‘parked’ car on the tracks….

Thanks for the nyheter. I’m okay with my EV exploding/catching fire as long as it only does so when struck by a train.

Note that it says that the ignition happened _after_ emergency crews got to the scene. It didn’t ignite when hit by the train.

Those thermal runaway events sometimes result in slow starting fires, but are not a big deal compared to the sort of lethal explosive combustion of ruptured gas tanks.

EVs are just safer that way.

Actually, lithium battery fires are surprisingly hard to put out once started. If in the highly unlikely event that you find yourself in that situation, make sure to not tow it, etc. for at least 24 hours. Even when the fire looks like it is out, the cell can still heat back up. A lot of emergency response manuals are being rewritten to respond to a fundamentally different kind of vehicle.

There was no one drunk. He was driving across the train crossing when the barriers went down in front of the car and behind them.

He then went out and tried to manually move the barriers. Then he went back into the car to try to drive around the barrier when he saw the lights from the train and went out of the car.

The train hit the car, not making as much sounds as in movies.

When the fire fighters then was about to move the car from the tracks it suddenly caught fire like crazy.

The drivers also says that he has been involved in motor sports for many years and has seen his fair share of crashes and accidents and that he will be able to shake this one off too.

Thank the help with the translation, didn’t seem to matter what filter we used, the world “drunk” continued to pop up, but we couldn’t figure out the context in relation to the rest of the story.

Will update! /appreciate the assistance

It’s the word “full” that messes it up. It means drunk when you’re “full (of alcohol)” but just as in English it can be used like “full speed ahead” and in this case it was the fire that had that sudden increase in intensity.

+1 This post should be pinned to top…

If you race against the cross-guard rails coming down, and get trapped by your own poor judgement– St. Darwin should have dominion over the outcome…

The car in front of him stopped and he had to stop. Then the barriers went down.

Leaving appropriate “Assured Clear Distance” between him and the stopped car, should have prevented this situation from occurring.

Driver error. Praise be to St. Darwin!

Right on!

Oh boy, this and those damn hoverboards flaring up………what are we going to do!!!!


Yeah, those Hoverboards are a bad thing. Cheap Chinese junk thrown together with minimal engineering and probably no safety testing at all.

NPR’s Planet money had an interesting story on how there isn’t even any real main company behind them. It is kind of an open-source/stolen design.

Oh, so it’s just like their automobiles and EVs.

Don’t the booms generally only cover half of the road . . . the side with traffic entering the crossing?

If you look at the photo that looks like barrier seems to be pretty long. Looks like it’s double-armed to stop people driving round them.

Why is this news?

Would a gasoline car fire get more news coverage?

Well, I guess since it is inside ev, we would have to cover all rare occurrences of EV fires since it is so rare that it is actually news.

Never mind, this is a wasteful post since I answered my own question.

Two surprises:

1. Those are the most perfect railroad tracks (ties and ballast) I’ve seen in a while.

2. That fire extinguisher looks rather ineffective at putting out the fire. Contrary to common understanding water was thought to be a better suppressant for Li-ion fires.

vdiv said:

“Contrary to common understanding water was thought to be a better suppressant for Li-ion fires.”

Well, yes and no. The fire-fighting instructions for airline stewardesses in fighting a small li-ion battery fire (in a laptop computer, for example) is to pour at least three bottles of water on the fire, and then use a normal fire extinguisher. The purpose of pouring all that water on it is to cool down the batteries so that they won’t keep spontaneously re-igniting.

Not sure the same approach will work for a BEV battery pack fire. With a much larger battery pack, it’s going to be a lot harder to cool down the entire thing below the ignition point, and cells deep inside the pack may never get cooled down no matter how much water is squirted on the outside of the pack.

I seem to recall reports that firemen just stand back and let a BEV battery pack burn out.

That makes sense if the fire is not hot enough to evaporate the water before it even gets to the cells so probably needs lots of it. In that case the dry chemical extinguisher may not be necessary.

(Psst, airline cabin crew, when stewardesses were around there were almost no Li Ion cells 😉 )

vdiv, Water can’t get to the cells likely as they are sealed in a waterproof metal case.
Even if the case was broken it still isn’t likely to let much water in.

I guess there is no telling what one of us would do in this type of situation, but I often wonder why people “freeze” and don’t do the obvious thing — drive through the barrier (booms) to get out of the way of the train!

The story didn’t say the car was incapacitated or otherwise physically prevented from moving by the railroad barriers. It was probably just “stuck” between two flimsy gates that are designed to break away in an impact. Drive through them, drive on the sidewalk, drive around other cars, etc..

So your car gets a little scratched, but you live, let alone avoid causing a huge wreck.

New smoke and drive. Or drive and then smoke. Lithium batteries have a lot of energy. Gasoline explodes at times and burns all the time. I’d rather have the batteries any day.

I feel we have all learned something here, don’t leave you electric car on the train tracks, who would have thought it?

After years of watching u-tube videos of trains hitting ICE cars (ok I’ve only seen one) the end result seems very similar.

Here we go again… Headline: “Fire Engulfs Electric Car after Horror Train Smash!! (VIDEO -Shock, Horror!!!)”

Actuality; Train collides with car (no video) – Brave dashing chaps in yellow hats, wet weather gear and brandishing big hoses, expertly extinguish burning pile of mangled metal (with very boring video). And that’s about the most exciting a spin I can put on it. MW