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Morgarten level crossing could be closed

Morgarten level crossing could be closed
Morgarten level crossing could be closed

The tragedy was narrowly avoided on Thursday in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Around 5 p.m., a car stopped on the level crossing on rue Morgarten was hit by a train arriving from Le Locle. There are no casualties.

Blocked on the tracks by very heavy traffic at that time, the driver of the motor vehicle had the reflex to abandon her car on the level crossing. Good luck to him. Despite emergency braking, the train engineer was unable to avoid the impact. Although there were no injuries, more than a hundred passengers had to be evacuated from the train. The driver of the rail convoy suffered a psychological shock, TransN which subcontracts the line under CFF concession. The mechanic has the possibility of internal and external support, specifies Aline Odot, spokesperson for Neuchâtel public transport.

The motor vehicle and railway infrastructure suffered damage. It is difficult at the moment to quantify the amount. Technicians are examining the damaged train. It may be necessary to bring in a specialist, explains Aline Odot. It could take several days or even weeks before we have figures for the damage.

A similar accident had already occurred at the same location in September last year. The canton had taken various measures to prevent this from happening again: markings on the ground to indicate areas where you must not stop your vehicle and vertical signs to remind you that it is prohibited to stop on a level crossing. For Nicolas Merlotti, the head of the Bridges and Roads Service, the State can hardly do more. To guarantee safety, the level crossing could simply be closed to traffic. A scenario which had already been mentioned by the CFF following the accident in September 2024.

The driver who found herself trapped on the railway track and who hastily left her vehicle is at great risk, particularly financially. Because “anyone who crosses a level crossing must avoid lingering and stopping is obviously an offense that can be considered serious,” explains Julien Broquet, a Neuchâtel lawyer and member of the network of road lawyers.

“The damage can be covered by the liability insurance but also, depending on this seriousness, turn against the driver and the insurance can act in a recourse manner against its insured, up to 10 to 50% of the total damage », adds Julien Broquet.

On the Le Locle – La Chaux-de-Fonds line, rail traffic remained interrupted on Thursday until around 9 p.m. Trains have been replaced by buses. /vco-cwi

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