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Local News Summary of December, 5th

  • Police looking for witnesses after accident at Voltaplatz
  • Investigation into "unusual" train derailment expected to take months
  • E-Mobility is becoming more popular


Police looking for witnesses after accident at Voltaplatz

The police are looking for witnesses after a hit and run accident on a zebra crossing at Voltaplatz.

The accident happened as a woman was crosssing the road at around 10.15am on Wednesday morning. She was struck by a car and suffered minor injuries, the Basel-Stadt police said yesterday (Monday).

Both the woman and the car driver told the police that they had the right of way. Witnesses who can provide relevant information about the accident are asked to telephone the traffic police on: 061 699 12 12 or via the following email address: KapoVrk.VLZOi@jsd.bs.ch.

Investigation into "unusual" train derailment expected to take months

An investigation to find out why a train derailed at Basel SBB train station last Wednesday is expected to take several months.

The German ICE train, from Hamburg, derailed on its approach at around 5pm, causing a power cut and throwing the travel plans of thousands of commuters into chaos. The network did not return to normal until Saturday afternoon.

Unusual derailment

Christoph Kupper, from the independent Swiss investigators (SUST), said on Monday that there are no hints as to the cause of the accident, such as a forgotten retaining wedge.

He said the investigation would be “long-term”, comparing it to a similar incident in March where an Italian train derailed in Lucerne. There is still no conclusive analysis of the accident.

The Basel accident is unusual in that the train derailed while in motion –and that three carriages in the centre jumped the rails rather than the front. At first glance, the infrastructure therefore does not seem to be the cause of the derailment, Mr Kupper said. It is unclear whether a malfunctioning switch caused the accident.

The damaged carriages remain in Basel, where they are being thoroughly examined, Mr Kupper said. This includes taking measurements of the wheels and truck bogies to provide data for model calculations. If necessary, the train material will also be examined.

Parallels to Dortmund incident 

The SUST has also contacted their specialist colleagues in Germany, who have arrived in Basel to help with the investigations. In May this year, an ICE jumped the rails in Dortmund in a similar manner to the train in Basel – although the Dortmund train had been a second-generation ICE. A possible explanation lies in the “stiff” design of high-speed trains such as the ICE, which do not run optimally when entering narrow radiuses at train stations. However, this scenario is also still part of the ongoing investigations, Mr Kupper said.

Technical compatibilities are checked before trains are allowed to run on tracks in other countries – this also applies to ICE trains in Switzerland. Last month, the SBB and the Deutsche Bahn (DB) celebrated the 25th anniversary of the ICE in Switzerland and presented the newest ICE 4 in Basel.

Looking at the interim research results, there are “no hypotheses” for either of the derailments in Basel and Lucerne, the SUST said. Mr Kupper said that finding the exact cause would most likely be a “hard nut to crack”. The first results are not expected to be available until May. As always, the SUST will publish its final report online.

E-Mobility is becoming more popular

The number of charging stations for electronic cars in Basel is growing. By February, there will be eleven new charging stations in the “blue” parking zones of the city. Where charging stations have been installed on private property, the Industrial Works of Basel (IWB) have developed special offers so that tenants can also also from the stations. In addition, the IWB will provide a pool car for Mobility car-sharing customers.

The eleven new charging stations in the blue parking zones will have two charging spots each. This expansion is part of a commission by the canton of Basel-Stadt as a pilot project in cooperation with the office for environment and energy, the office for mobility, and further offices of the cantonal authorities. An overview map released in the “energie&wasser” IWB magazine shows where the new stations will be installed.

The public infrastructure is matched by charging possibilities near private houses or at workplaces. The IWB offer an innovative approach with the so-called “Chargebox”: Tenants, landlords, house owners as well as companies will find their solution among the IWB offers. This includes the installation of a photovoltaic plant, which will charge both the charging station and cars with solar power.

The IWB has been using electronic cars for years. Currently, 18 vehicles (or 11 per cent) of their company cars are electronic.