Three days to restore Basel train services after derailment

The Hamburg-Zurich ICE train came off the rails at around 5pm. Keystone

This content was published on November 30, 2017 - 20:26 and agencies

Train traffic is returning to normal at Basel station following the derailment of a German ICE train bound for Zurich on Wednesday evening. Return to normal services will take longer than expected.

Full service is expected to be restored only by Saturday morning at the earliest as tracks and switches were damaged by the derailment. A crane had been deployed to remove two carriages but the operation has not yet been completed.

The Federal Railways said on Thursday morning that all suburban trains (S-Bahn) were running normally, and there were no problems travelling on intercity trains from Basel to Zurich or Chur. However, passengers on the Olten-Bern-Spiez line had a limited hourly service.

In addition, people going to Germany faced more of a disturbance, having to take a tram or suburban train to Basel Baden Station and change onto a train for Germany. 

No delays or cancellations were expected, said the Federal Railways, which provides live informationExternal link on its website. Extra trains had been put on to make the situation more bearable for commuters, the federal railways said, adding that passengers should consult online to find out when these extra trains are running. 

Power cut 

On Wednesday evening three carriages of the German ICE train, which had come from Hamburg earlier in the day, came off the rails while switching tracks in Basel’s main station. The 500 passengers on board were evacuated; city authorities said there were no injuries. 

In derailing, however, the train damaged an electric pylon and caused a power cut throughout the area. As a result, the entire station was initially closed and various trains cancelled. 

The station in Basel links the city to the nearby airport of Basel-Mulhouse, as well as acting as a transit point for those moving between Switzerland and bordering France and Germany. Basel is Europe’s largest border station. 

Earlier this year, a derailment in the railway station of Lucerne in central Switzerland caused chaos for many Swiss – who are heavy commuters – when it was closed for several days.

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