Defects found in train carriage doors following fatal accident

The August 4 accident, which took place at Baden train station (pictured), occurred when the conductor became trapped in one of the carriage doors. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

The Swiss Federal Railways has identified problems linked to the train type involved in the accident that killed a conductor on August 4.

Keystone-SDA/gw

Defective anti-trap protection systems were found on five carriage doors during special inspections of EW IV trains carried out by the Federal Railways following the accident.

The company said on Wednesday it will continue inspecting all doors on all EW IV trains in the coming weeks. This is in addition to regular tests that take place every seven to ten days. However, it did not reveal to what extent these defective doors might pose a danger to passengers and personnel. 

The first results from an ongoing investigation by the Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board (STSB) revealed that the anti-trap system of the train door involved in the accident was not functional at the time. The 54-year-old conductor got trapped in a door and was dragged along by the train as it left Baden station, some 20km west of Zurich. The Federal Railways had last checked the carriage in question on July 31 and found no anomalies. 

Since the accident, some employees have reported similar cases of being trapped in doors, the Federal Railways revealed. In total, fewer than ten occupational accidents related to train access or being trapped in doors have been reported.

As part of its special inspections, the Federal Railways also reviewed its train departure procedure and concluded the process was safe for staff and travellers.

It is expected that EW IV train carriages will remain in service until the 2030s, though only as a complement to the Intercity IC2000 trains from the 2020s onwards. The company’s latest generation of rolling stock is equipped with additional door safety elements, such as photocells or sensors.

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