The derailed carriages seen from the loco. Photo Graubünden Police.
News of a serious railway accident in Switzerland is always an extraordinary event – Swiss railways are amongst the safest in the world.
The accident occurred at approximately 12:45 on Wednesday 13 August. A train was travelling from St. Moritz to Chur on the Albula section of the Rhaetian Railway between Tiefencastel and Solis. The leading carriage just behind the locomotive was hit by a landslide. The carriage plunged down a ravine and fortunately snagged on some trees before it could gather enough momentum to crash through the forest.
The second coach ended up hanging over the brink of the embankment. The passengers were asked to walk to the back of the coach to keep it stable. The third coach also derailed, but remained upright on the tracks. The rear bogie of the locomotive was also apparently derailed, but the driver promptly brought the engine to a halt and it remained upright on the tracks.
The derailment location near Tiefencastel, Switzerland. Google Maps.
Some two inches of rain fell on Wednesday morning downhill – equivalent to the normal rainfall in the whole of August. The earth and soil, weakened by the rain poured down onto a 15m section of track. In some places the debris piled up 3m high.
Fortunately, there were no casualties – 5 passengers were seriously injured, 6 less so. None are in danger. Those unable to walk were taken to hospital from the scene by helicopter. Some 200 passengers were guided through a tunnel by members of staff and then taken by cars to Tiefencastel station from where they continued their journey by coach.
The Albula section of the Rhaetian Railway is expected to remain closed for two days while the landside is cleared and the hillside secured.
- Blich.ch – RhB-Waggons hängen über dem Abgrund!
- Wikipedia – Rhaetian Railway
Videos of journeys on the RB
- Florken.de – Die Rhätische Bahn