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Rail woes over Trains at Winterthur running again

The freight train derailed

The derailed freight train, as seen on Friday evening


Trains are running again at Switzerland’s fourth largest railway station in Winterthur. Traffic had been disrupted over the weekend due to a freight train derailment. 

A few long-distance trains started operation at Sunday lunchtime.

Swiss public television SRF and several media outlets reported on Sunday that the restrictions at the station were expected to last until 5am on Monday. The station opened as planned at this time, reported SRF and SDA-ATS on Monday morning.

SRF published this clip showing the situation at the station on Sunday morning.


Clip of Winterthur station from Sunday morning, via SRF

Repairs were progressing at full steam, but are complex and would need time, said the company on Saturday. 

The freight train, which was carrying gravel, came off the tracks on Friday during peak home commute time. An electricity pole was damaged, leading to a brief electricity blackout, which was followed by a shorter one later. Three wagons were affected. Nobody was hurt.

Some trains to Zurich were running a few hours after the accident, but many commuters faced long waits, particularly those on the East-West axis where trains were cancelled. Some took to social media to express their dismay at the delays and lack of alternatives to get back home. 

Peak time

Hundreds of travellers were stranded at different stations along the routes from Winterthur on Friday evening, Swiss public television SRF reportedexternal link. Federal railways spokesman Stephan Wehle told SRF that when accidents happened at peak times, it was hard to avoid some chaos. Winterthur is the fourth biggest station in Switzerland, he said.

Commuters waiting at Winterthur station on Friday evening


The emergency concept had worked, but the situation has been “very exceptional”, he addedexternal link. The blackout had hindered operations, plus there are not lots of replacement trains available straightaway, he added. Coordination with bus companies also takes time.

The federal railways said on Saturday that the reason for the accident was probably that a conveyor belt vehicle from an external company had been put into the wrong mode. It then pushed the other wagons off the rails while moving over a track switch. Investigations are ongoing as to how the accident exactly came about, the company said.


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