Government stresses safety of Swiss railways

Switzerland says it has safety measures already in place that would minimise the risk of an accident similar to Monday's fatal cargo train derailment in Italy.

This content was published on June 30, 2009 minutes

The Federal Transport Office released a statement on Tuesday to reassure the public that Swiss infrastructure, rolling stock and operational processes were different to those in Italy and there was a lower risk of an accident while transporting dangerous goods.

It noted that the Swiss rail network had detectors at regular intervals that could sense overheated wheels and brakes, and thereby help identify problematic wheels and axles.

The measures in place have reduced the risk of accidents since 2001, the office added.

There are also detectors placed on tank wagons which automatically put on the brakes in the event of a derailment, while casing around wagons carrying particularly dangerous goods have been improved.

International shipments transiting Switzerland must also first undergo technical checks.

"There is no rail line in Switzerland where there is an unacceptable risk", said a statement.

At least 14 people were killed and 50 injured on Monday night in Italy when a freight train hauling liquefied petroleum gas derailed and exploded as it passed their homes.

It was Italy's most deadly rail accident since 2005 when 17 people were killed in a collision between a freight and a passenger train.

Safety measures were improved in Switzerland after five tank wagons carrying petrol exploded at Zurich-Affoltern in 1994, injuring three people, and after an epichlorohydrin spillage from a goods train in Lausanne in the same year. and agencies

Articles in this story

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?