February 20, 2015 / 7:38 AM / 3 years ago

At least five injured as trains collide near Zurich

Rescue workers stand next to a derailed train after two trains collided near Rafz around 30 km (18 miles) from Zurich February 20, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Two passenger trains collided in Switzerland on Friday, injuring at least five people, leaving carriages teetering on the tracks over a road and disrupting commuter routes into Zurich.

An express train destined for Schaffhausen near the German border sideswiped a commuter train at a switch in Rafz, a small town around 30 km (18 miles) from Zurich, at about 6:45 a.m. and then derailed, Zurich cantonal police said.

Rail operator SBB said five people were injured, while police put the number at six, adding the cause was being investigated.

SBB said in a statement it would provide an update on the investigation next week.

Newspaper Berner Zeitung cited a spokeswoman for SBB as saying it was trying to determine whether there were any parallels between Friday’s crash and a collision in Neuhausen, just north of Rafz, two years ago.

In that incident, in January 2013, two commuter trains collided, injuring 27 people. Prosecutors fined a train driver for jumping a red light and causing the collision.

A 49-year-old Swiss train driver was seriously injured in Friday’s crash. Firefighters had to cut him from the cab of the express train and he was flown to hospital by helicopter, police said.

Police said the others were lightly injured and taken to hospital after the smash which left several carriages tilting at an angle, including one on top of a road overpass, when the train came to a halt.

The SBB website showed the rail operator had canceled some rail services and re-routed inter-city trains between Zurich and Stuttgart.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Alison Williams

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