The Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board (STSB) published its preliminary report into the Gotthard Base Tunnel derailment on Thursday, 24 August. 

As expected, the initial report gives factual details of the incident, including the place and time the derailment occurred and a surface-level account of the damage caused. 

It does not include any information on the cause of the derailment and specifies it is not complete. 

STSB confirmed a dual-locomotive train formed of 30 freight cars “of various types” left the tracks at or near Faido on 10 August 2023, at approximately 12:50 CET.

The report also confirmed the train was operated by Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and was pulling cargo owned by “various Swiss and foreign wagon owners.”

Wine and soft drinks were spread over long sections of the track. Credit: SBB.

Although no further estimate of the cost or expected repair time was shared, the STSB cited “major damage” to several freight cars and track infrastructure. It also noted “destruction of the transported goods”, as clearly seen in some of the pictures shared by SBB. 

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In summary, the STSB said: “Sixteen freight wagons of a train made up of thirty wagons travelling northbound in the base tunnel of the [Gotthard Base Tunnel] derailed near the multifunctional station of Faido.”

Spaghetti and tomato sauce was travelling north from Switzerland’s Italian-speaking canton before the train derailed. Credit: SBB.

The STSB did not give any indication of when the final report could be expected. However, some of the process was explained in an email to Railway Technology, including the formal “right of reply”, which will allow the parties involved to comment on the final report.