A tram line 66 stops at the Adelheidistrasse stop.
Credit: Getty Images

Passengers aboard a German train broke down a cabin door and halted the speeding train after the driver passed out early Sunday morning.

Passengers first noticed something was amiss when, around midnight local time, the train sped straight through several stations on its way to Bonn in western Germany. Passengers tried pulling the emergency brake but that did not halt the train.

One of the passengers called the train company, SWB, who instructed the passengers how to halt the train. Two men broke down the conductor’s cabin door, where they found the driver had passed out, due to a medical issue.

"They did exactly the right thing in a dangerous situation and likely saved lives," the mayor of Bonn, Ashok Sridharan, told local newspaper General Anzeiger.

The identity of the men was not released, however it was noted that they were in their late twenties.

According to SWB, the emergency brake does not immediately halt the train. It sends a signal to the driver who can then communicate with passengers and slow down the train.

The train was likely traveling no faster than 45 miles per hour.

The company also said that the train had several safety features in place that would notice if the driver went unconscious. These features appear to have malfunctioned and are under closer inspection. Initial investigation suggests the safety features may not have worked due to the weight of the driver or the position in which he passed out.

SWB would have also been able to turn off the trains by shutting down electricity on the tracks. But they said that having passengers break into the driver’s cabin was the quickest and most efficient route of action.

The driver was hospitalized and released by Monday morning while the passengers that helped had minor injuries.