Following the recent death of a Swiss Federal Railways conductor due to a defective door control system, the government has ordered the railways to ensure that doors function safely. In addition, it must carry out a comprehensive inspection.
The Federal Railways “must rapidly improve the display in the driver’s cab indicating the closed status of the doors and replace the door controls in the medium term”, the Federal Office of Transport said in a statementexternal link on Friday.
This order was issued based on an interim report published on Wednesday by the Swiss Transport Safety Investigation Boardexternal link.
The board had established that the existing parallel connection of the doors of the EW IV carriages could lead to the driver being told the doors were shut when this was not the case.
The transport office told the Federal Railways it had until the end of October to sort this out.
In addition, the anti-trap protection on the doors does not function reliably, according to the board’s report. The Federal Railways must explain by the end of October how and by when the door controls will be replaced.
“Until these two measures have been implemented, the Federal Railways must take operational measures to ensure safety,” the government said.
On August 4, a 54-year-old conductor was trapped in a train door as the train was leaving Baden station in northern Switzerland. He was dragged for several kilometres and died of his injuries.
Since the accident, the Federal Railways has admitted that other employees have reported similar cases of being trapped in doors. In total, fewer than ten occupational accidents related to train access or being trapped in doors have been reported.
After the fatal accident, the Federal Railways inspected more than 1,000 train doors and found more than 300 defects. Although not all defects were equally relevant to safety, the transport office said it believed the error rate was high.
“The question arises as to why the Federal Railways did not detect these defects in the course of proper maintenance and inspections,” it wrote.
The government has therefore ordered the Federal Railways to have the organisation and procedures for vehicle maintenance checked by an external company. The timetable for this and the specifications must also be in place by the end of October.
Finally, the Federal Railways must check whether similar risks exist for comparable carriage fleets.