This month has not been good for rail, or French-speaking rail, for that matter. At the beginning of the month, a runaway freight train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in southern Quebec, Canada, killing at least 42 people with 5 more missing and presumed dead. The following week, a commuter train derailed in a suburb of Paris, France, leaving 6 dead and nearly 200 injured. While not French, last week's high-speed derailment in Santiago de Compostela, leaving 79 dead and almost everyone else injured occurred in northern Spain, which is close to France. Clearly, this resembles a bad string of coincidences.
Now, it's gotten worse. In the Swiss town of Granges-près-Marnand, located near the city of Lausanne in the western French-speaking region of the country, reports are coming in of a head-on train collision near the local train station of two rail trains. The incident occurred at 7 PM local time, just after rush hour. The trains were of the commuter RER and national Regio services, both of which utilize local lines and are run by national rail company SBB/CFF/FFS. The collision occurred about 150 meters from the Granges-Marnand rail station, itself near the town limits near the Broyne River. One train was heading in the direction of Lausanne when the collision occurred.
As of press time, 44 people have been injured from the head-on collision in Granges-près-Marnand, according to police, with four in serious condition and fatalities a possibility. The fact that the collision occurred so close to the Granges-Marnand station may minimize fatalities overall. The injured are being treated either at the University Hospital of Lausanne or a nearby hospital in Payerne. Furthermore, one person remains unaccounted for, specifically one of the train drivers. Rescue operations remain in play while they find the other driver. We'll have more on this situation in Granges-près-Marnand as the story develops.