“If he had complied with the rules … then there would have been no collision between the trains,” said Wolfgang Giese, the prosecutor who led the investigation into last Tuesday’s accident in southern Germany.
“There is no evidence of technical problems… Our investigation shows that this was human error with catastrophic consequences,” he added.
Two commuter trains travelling at high speed crashed head-on near the spa town of Bad Aibling last Tuesday, in one of Germany’s deadliest accidents in years, with one slicing the other apart, ripping a large gash in its side.
Dozens were also injured in the collision.
The signalling worker, who had allowed two trains from opposite directions to travel on a single track, made an emergency call after realising his mistake, said another prosecutor Juergen Branz.
“But that went unanswered,” he added.
The worker had admitted the error on Monday, Giese said, adding that he had not been taken into preventive detention as the action was not deliberate.