Read our latest story on the disruption affecting German long-distance train travel here:
The accident occurred on Thursday morning on a stretch of track near Gifhorn in Lower Saxony, around 20km from Wolfsburg and 60km from Hanover.
According to the local fire service, a cargo train had stopped at a railway signal when a second cargo train ploughed into it from the back.
The driver of the second train was badly injured and has been taken to hospital, while the driver of the first train sustained light injuries, a spokesperson said.
As a result of the impact, two carriages holding propane gas were overturned while a further two were derailed, causing a major gas leak in the area.
However, authorities say local residents should not be affected as the accident occurred in a stretch of forest outside the town.
The second cargo train had been transporting propane gas tanks in 25 carriages in total, the fire service explained.
The reasons for the collision are so far unclear but the incident has caused largescale disruption on one of the most widely used sections of Germany’s railway track.
Emergency services have said it will take at least a day to start clearing the area following the collision. Authorities now have to wait for the gas canisters to empty before they can start the clean-up operation.
Which train routes are affected?
According to Deutsche Bahn, the ICE connection between Hanover and Berlin has been severely affected by the line closure.
Passengers making this journey will be taken along a diverted route that will add an additional 60 minutes to their travel time.
This also applies to ICE trains travelling from Switzerland via Frankfurt and Kassel to Berlin.
Routes between the Netherlands and Germany are also disrupted following the incident. In particular, IC connections between Amsterdam and Berlin will only go as far as Hanover and will also start there in the opposite direction.
Hinweis: Aufgrund von einer #Streckensperrung ist der Fernverkehr zwischen #Berlin und #Hannover aktuell beeinträchtigt. Bitte informiere dich regelmäßig auf https://t.co/kzJtR2PzIc bzw. im DB Navigator über deine Verbindung und auf https://t.co/rnaSSEMa6s über die aktuelle Lage.
— Deutsche Bahn Personenverkehr (@DB_Bahn) November 17, 2022
Other ICE and IC trains in the section were cancelled or delayed, including the IC route from Hanover to Leipzig via Stendal.
Passengers travelling on regional trains in the area should also expect disruptions due to the closure of track between Wolfsburg and Lehrte.
This will affect the RE30 train that normally runs from Hanover to Wolfsburg via Gifhorn, where the accident took place.
Deutsche Bahn has advised passengers to check their route in the DB website or DB Navigator app for regular updates.
However, emergency services predict that the work to reopen the track will take several days, which means disruptions could continue in the region on Friday and over the weekend.