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The Rafz train crash occurred at approximately 6.43 am on 20 February 2015. An S-Bahn and an Interregio express train collided at Rafz railway station in Switzerland.

Rafz train crash
Photograph of one of the locomotives involved
Locomotive 460 087-0 was hauling the Interregio train.
Details
Date20 February 2015
Time06:43 CET (UTC+01:00)
LocationRafz
Coordinates47°36′12″N 8°32′36″E / 47.6034°N 8.5434°E / 47.6034; 8.5434Coordinates: 47°36′12″N 8°32′36″E / 47.6034°N 8.5434°E / 47.6034; 8.5434
CountrySwitzerland
LineEglisau–Neuhausen railway line
OperatorInterregio and S-Bahn
Incident typeSide collision
CauseUnder investigation (suspected SPAD)
Statistics
TrainsTwo
Injuries6

AccidentEdit

 
The S-Bahn train was formed by a Class 514 electric multiple unit 514 046-2.

The collision occurred as the Interregio train, which was running late, was passing through Ratz without stopping. The S-Bahn train was departing for Jestetten and was involved in a side-long collision, with the Interregio train coming from behind the S-Bahn train. The express was partially derailed, but the couplings held and no carriages overturned.[1] The S-Bahn train was operated by Class 514 electric multiple unit 514 046-2. The InterRegio train was hauled by Class 460 electric locomotive No. 460 087-0.[2][3] The 49-year-old driver of the express was seriously injured. He was airlifted to hospital by helicopter.[4] There were five other injuries requiring hospital treatment.[5][6]

Both drivers were in training and accompanied by instructors.[2] A passenger on the S-bahn train said he believed that his train had departed against a red signal.[4] A bridge over a road was damaged and left in danger of collapse.[2] A crane was brought in to recover the derailed carriages,[5] which were then removed by road.[7] About 60 metres (66 yd) of track was damaged, along with a number of supports for the catenary.[8]

InvestigationEdit

The Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board have opened an investigation into the accident.[5] SBB have announced that they will make a statement updating the progress of the investigation in the week commencing 23 February.[6]

A similar accident in January 2013 at Neuhausen, on the same line, was caused by outmoded safety equipment that allowed a train to leave the station against a signal. The equipment at Rafz should in theory have prevented the 2015 crash; authorities are investigating why it did not,[9] and whether there are any similarities between the two accidents.[6] The automatic braking equipment is not activated at the first signal after a train has been turned.[10] The head of the train drivers' union suggested as a possible cause operator confusion because when Rafz station was renovated in 2011, the applicable signal was installed on the right rather than the left, where such signals are usually positioned. He proposed a rule that trains departing after a change of direction limit their initial speed to 40 kilometres per hour (25 mph).[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Switzerland Zurich: Injuries as trains collide in Rafz". BBC News Online. 20 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Baumgartner, Fabian (20 February 2015). "Zugunglück in Rafz: Lokführer waren in Ausbildung" [Train accident in Rafz: Drivers were in training]. Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German).
  3. ^ Per this image of the damaged locomotive after the crash.
  4. ^ a b "Plusieurs blessés dans une collision de trains" [Several injured in train collision] (in French). 20 Minuten. 20 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "Ein Kran soll Waggons in Rafz bergen" [A crane is to recover carriages in Rafz]. Bluewin.ch (in German). 20 February 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Sheahan, Maria (20 February 2015). "At least five injured as trains collide near Zurich". Reuters.
  7. ^ "Unglückszug rollt über Schweizer Strassen" [Accident train rolls over Swiss roads]. 20 Minuten (in German). PAT/SDA. 21 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  8. ^ "Zum Glück sind die Waggons nicht auf die Strasse gefallen" [Fortunately, the carriages did not fall into the road]. Neue Zürcher Zeitung. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  9. ^ Wilhelm, Martin (20 February 2015). "Ich kann mir nicht erklären, was in Rafz passiert ist" [I cannot understand what happened in Rafz]. Basler Zeitung (in German)..
  10. ^ a b "Lokführer-Präsident kritisiert nach Zugunglück die SBB" [President of train drivers criticises SBB after train accident]. Berner Zeitung (in German). RAR. 22 February 2015.