Derailed Train Saved by Whale Sculpture Is the Catch of the Day

Art can save lives. This was the case, in the most literal way, earlier this week, at the De Akkers metro station in Spijkenisse, near Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Whale Tails sculpture "catches" derailed train in Netherlands 1 photo
Photo: Twitter / ITV News
The tracks sit on a suspended bridge, with the art piece at the end of it, emerging from the water. It represents two tails of hunchback whales and was erected in 2002. It’s the work of architect and artist Maarten Struijs, who tells BBC News that it’s made of some type of plastic. Which makes this an even bigger “save.”

Past midnight on Monday, a train went past the barrier and would have plunged into the water below, had it not been for one of these whale tails. Instead of dropping 10 meters (32 feet) into the water, the train was “caught” by the sculpture and remained thus suspended until daylight, when authorities arrived at the scene to analyze the situation and decide what to do next.

According to the media outlet, the driver of the train was not injured and was able to walk off the train through the back. No one else was on the train. No word yet on what caused him to drive the train through the barrier and off the edge, as the incident is still under investigation.

“We are trying to decide how we can bring the train down in a careful and controlled manner,” authorities told the media on Monday. Presumably, the tail will hold the weight of the derailed train until then.

Contacted for comment, Struijs declared himself amazed that his work proved so tough – and such a life-saver. “It has been there for almost 20 years and... you actually expect the plastic to pulverize a bit, but that is apparently not the case,” he said. “I'll make sure that I get a few photos. I could never have imagined it that way.”

It wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to assume no one imagined it this way, ever.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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