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10 Reasons Why Bridges Collapse

Train Crash

This type of bridge collapse is extraordinarily rare, but one of the worst rail disasters in history, the Eschede train disaster, was a bridge collapse caused by train impact. In 1998, a high-speed train traveling through Germany suffered a mechanical malfunction of one of the wheels. The broken wheel struck a switch and shifted it, throwing subsequent cars onto a different track. Moving at roughly 124 miles (200 kilometers) per hour, the cars derailed and slammed into the piers of a road bridge that passed over the railroad tracks at that point. The massive impact brought the bridge down directly onto the passenger cars of the train, crushing them. As a result, 101 people died in the accident [source: Oestern]. Eighty-three people lost their lives in a similar tragedy near Sydney, Australia in 1977 [source: ABC News].