Swiss train derailment caused by speeding

By Hideki Hiramoto

      BRIG, Switzerland _ Swiss transport authorities and the operator of the Glacier Express train on which a 64-year-old woman was killed and 42 other passengers were injured in a derailment on July 23 have concluded that train was speeding at the time of the accident.

      The operator of the train, Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn, announced Friday that speeding may have caused the derailment.

      In preliminary results of the investigation into the accident, the Swiss accident investigation authorities and the train operator said, “The driver was operating the train at an excessive speed” at the time of the accident.

      The final results of the investigation are expected to be released in several weeks.

      Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn admitted the accident was its fault, saying it was very regrettable that human error had caused such a serious accident. The company apologized to passengers who were on the train and the bereaved family of the woman, a tourist from Japan, who died.

      According to an official of the Swiss accident investigation authorities, a speed recorder on the train showed the driver accelerated to 56 kph (34.8 mph) before the last car of the train passed a curve where the speed limit was set at 35 kph (21.75 mph).

      Weather was not a factor in the accident, the official said, adding that there were no apparent problems in the train, its wheels or the rails.