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Swiss railways Lucerne train derailment costs rail operator millions

Six passengers were injured and traffic disrupted for over four days in Lucerne station

(Keystone)

The derailment of a Eurocity train in March in Lucerne has cost the Swiss Federal Railways CHF11 million ($11 million). 

On Monday, the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB/CFF/FFS) shared the first findings of its investigations into two major derailments that occurred in late March in the space of a week in Lucerne and Bern. 

A spectacular derailment that occurred in Lucerne on March 22 has cost the Swiss Federal Railways CHF11 million, according to findings released on Monday. A Eurocity train operated by the federal railways came off the tracks as it was pulling out of Lucerne’s main rail station, injuring six passengers. The Eurocity train was travelling from Milan in northern Italy to Basel in northwest Switzerland. The accident, which is still being investigated, shut down Lucerne train station for four-and-a-half days while crews carried out repairs. 

According to the Federal Railways, the exact cause of the accident is not known but it is likely to be the result of a rare chain of events that individually would not have caused the train to derail. 

Bern derailment

 The rail operator also shed light on a less impressive derailment that occurred a week later on March 29 in the Swiss capital Bern. A worn-out railway switch - that guides a train from one track to another - was likely to blame for the derailment of a local commuter train. It was “the first time such an equipment failure had occurred in Switzerland,” the railway operator said in a statement. 

The train, run by Swiss railway company BLS, was leaving Bern’s main station on its way to Sumiswald. There were no serious injuries and the 90 passengers, including two adults with young children in prams, were able to disembark and walk back to the station without any problems. However, the incident led to major delays and train cancellations, in particular between Bern and Zurich. 

The Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board’s assessment of the accident is still ongoing. 

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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