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TRAM

German passengers hailed for stopping ‘horror’ runaway tram

German passengers were hailed for preventing a disaster at the weekend when they were able to bring a runaway tram to a halt after the driver lost consciousness.

German passengers hailed for stopping 'horror' runaway tram
he Line 66 tram in Bonn. Photo: DPA

Two male passengers broke down the door to the driver's cabin after the tram sped past eight stations without stopping in the western city of Bonn late Saturday night.

They found the driver unresponsive in his seat but managed to halt the tram thanks to instructions given to a female passenger who was on the phone throughout with local transport operator SWB.

“They did exactly the right thing in a dangerous situation and possibly saved lives,” mayor Ashok Sridharan told the General-Anzeiger daily.

“Something like this should not be allowed to happen,” he added.

The 47-year-old driver was taken to hospital but has since been released.

He remains on sick leave but no further details were given about his medical condition.

The General-Anzeiger said passengers on the “horror tram” were terrified even if everyone escaped unharmed.

“We were afraid for our lives, there was nothing we could do,” it quoted 61-year-old Manfred Daas, who was travelling with his wife, as saying.

The SWB transport company faced mounting criticism over the incident on Monday, and prosecutors are investigating whether all the technical fail-safes had worked properly.

The Line 66 tram did not stop even after passengers repeatedly pulled the emergency brake, but the SWB said the brake only alerts the driver who then decides whether or not to stop.

The “dead man's switch” in the driver's cabin, designed to cut the engine if the lever is no longer activated, also did not kick into action because the driver's weight likely kept it pressed down, SWB said.

But the tram would have eventually slowed to halt by itself because some passengers had activated the emergency unlocking system on the doors, Jörn Zauner of the SWB told General-Anzeiger.

It remains unclear how fast the tram was going, with Zauner estimating it was riding at a speed of 40 to 70 kilometres per hour.

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ZURICH

Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

Switzerland’s Federal Railways (SBB) will be removing the ticket counter from nine stations in the cantons of Zurich, Vaud, Bern, Zug and Ticino

Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

The SBB made the announcement on Wednesday, saying the decision was made due to a lack of demand. 

Instead, commuters will need to buy tickets from automated machines. 

In the canton of Zurich, the ticket stations in Dietlikon, Hinwil, Kloten, Männedorf and Oberwinterthur will be closed. 

In neighbouring Zug, Cham’s ticket counter will be closed, while the Herzogenbuchsee station in Bern will also go fully automated. 

MAPS: The best commuter towns when working in Zurich

In Latin Switzerland, Pully in Vaud and Biasca in Ticino will see their ticket counters closed. 

The SBB told Swiss news outlet Watson that approximately 95 percent of ticket sales are now made via self-service machines or online. 

The advent of navigation apps has meant the need for personal advice on directions and travel has fallen, particularly in smaller areas or stations with lower traffic. 

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