Bahnhof SBB: service to return to normal Saturday afternoon
Major repair work which has been carried out following the derailment of a Deutsche Bahn train at the SBB station on Wednesday is expected to be completed today (Saturday).
The ICE 75 from Hamburg Altona was approaching the station at 16:59 during Wednesday's rush-hour when three carriages left the track (barfi.ch reported). Around 500 passengers on the train were safely evacuated through the front carriages onto platform 5. Nobody was injured.
The derailed carriages had hit a signal mast, which caused a short circuit on the overhead line. This caused a blackout in the station, during which no trains left the station. After 9pm, some local services were able to leave the station but a reduced service was put in place for long-distance trains.
By Thursday morning, all S-Bahn trains were running according to the timetable. Most of the long distance trains were in operation with some cancellations. The international trains to France remained largely unaffected.
Repairs in full swing
The repair work has been carried out by dozens of workers around the clock, according to a SBB spokesperson. Employees of the Federal Railways have, among other tasks, changed many parts of the switches. One switch had to be completely replaced, which was carried out when a new one arrived on Friday afternoon, according to the SBB.
Two carriages which had been left at the accident scene were removed by a heavy crane on Thursday. The independent Swiss investigators (SUST) were then able to retrieve the last traces of evidence from the overhead equipment. As soon as the on-site work by the SUST investigators was completed, the SBB engineering staff were able to start the repairs.
The restaurant carriage was removed from the site on Friday morning, and there was still one derailed wagon left at a station platform. The undamaged part of the ICE train had earlier been removed and transferred to the Badischer Bahnhof.
Full service available from Saturday
The limited capacity of the network after the derailment continued to cause delays and cancellations to services at Basel SBB. The train services operated from and to Basel according to an emergency auxiliary plan.
The SBB spokesperson said the works were proceding well and the train station is expected to reach its full capacity by 1pm today.
Several million francs of damage
No further information was available on Friday about the cause of the accident. However, the cost of the accident has been estimated at more than a million franks. The SBB has not provided a more accurate figure.
The derailment of the ICE in Basel is similar to an accident at the Lucerne train station when an Italian Eurocity train carrying 160 people derailed on 22nd March. The recovery works lasted for four and a half days and cost 11 million Swiss francs. The cause of the accident is still unclear.
Telephone con artist pretends to be policeman in Basel
The police have issued a warning after a trickster pretended to be a police officer conned a Basel victim out of several thousands of Swiss francs. He used a technically manipulated telephone number to lead people to believe that they had received a genuine call from a Basel police station.
The con artist spoke mostly high German as he pretended to be a police officer from abroad, a spokesperson for the public prosecution said on Friday. The crook instructed his victims over the phone to collect their valuables and deposited assets and bring them to the police station for safe keeping.
During the call, the crook then made an appointment with the victim in an attempt to collect the money or valuables from them. According to the public prosecution, the man stole items worth several thousand francs from one victim. In other cases of attempted fraud known to the criminal police, the victims had contacted the authorities.
The public prosecution advise the public to have a healthy suspicion of unknown callers. The Zürich cantonal police warned about a similar deception which took place in October.
Christmas tram circulates starting today
The Children's Christmas tram in Basel has a new look and begins its festive journeys around the city today (Saturday).
The many details on the 90-year-old vintage carriage Nr. 190 are even more christmassy, thanks to a redesign by Markus Jeanneret (Santa Claus GmbH).
The ride is an exclusive gift for children between 4 and 10 years old. The children are cared for during the ride and arrive back to the starting point approximately one hour later. Tickets are free.
Additional rides are on offer this year to meet the high demand. Tickets are available at the Pro Innerstadt Basel office at Wallstrasse 14 (tram stop «Kirschgarten»). There are up to three tickets available per person, for as long as there are tickets. Children with a ticket must arrive at the fountain at Fischmarkt 15 minutes prior to the printed departure time, otherwise the ticket is not valid.
«The Christmas tram is a great city adventure for the little visitors and are another Christmassy adventure highlight in the city of Basel,» said Mathias F. Böhm, manager of Pro Innerstadt Basel. «Now the Christmas tram is even more beautiful,» aiS Barbara Schiess, manager at the BVB customer service centre at Barfüsserplatz. «We are looking forward to hearing the opinions of our youngest guests,» she said.
Besides the completely newly designed 90-year-old tram carriage, the Klingental-ferry also has a shiny Christmassy look.