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Swiss railways take tilt-trains off track

All of the Swiss federal railways' tilting trains are being checked Keystone Archive

The Swiss federal railways have temporarily removed their tilting trains from service following an incident last Sunday. Five of the trains were examined during the week and service should be progressively reintroduced as of Tuesday.

The railways decided to remove the trains after various parts fell off a wheel control gear on one of the tilt-trains on Sunday.

The checks this week revealed further loose parts on four trains, although no explantion has been found for this shortcoming. Because the reasons behind the incidents remain unclear, the federal railways have decided to reduce the interval between service checks on the rolling stock.

In a separate incident on July 29, a wagon of an intercity train derailed in Zurich. No injuries were reported. Authorities said the train had been travelling at 80 kilometres per hour.

The railways announced on Monday they were immediately replacing the 22 tilt-trains (ICNs) with older rolling stock. The checks will be carried out in Geneva and Zurich with the train’s builders — the firms Alstom and Bombardier. The examinations are expected to be completed early next week.

Travel delays were expected between Geneva and St Gallen, Switzerland’s main passenger rail line. The older trains could not comply with the tilt-trains’ timetable, as they are slower.

The SBB began offering faster service with the ICNs in June, cutting 15 minutes from the trip between the east and west parts of the country via Biel. The new trains will transport visitors to next year’s national exhibition.

Preliminary investigation of the July 29 incident indicated that screws may have been insufficiently tightened, and a gimbal had broken, according to the railways.

The cost of that accident has been estimated at hundreds of thousands of Swiss francs. More than 800 metres of track and four points – the junction of two railway lines – were damaged.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR