Minister Ersek Demands Better State of Railway Crisis Readiness

Minister of Transport and Construction Arpad Ersek (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 7 (TASR) – Minister of Transport and Construction Arpad Ersek (Most-Hid) demands a better state of readiness for railway crisis situations, TASR learnt on Friday.

Referring to Thursday’s (September 6) incident when dozens of trains in Bratislava were left without power due to overhead lines being torn down, Ersek claimed that he wants railways to better handle crisis situations in future with respect to the safety and health of passengers and railway employees.

“Railways must be better prepared and able to deal also with crisis accidents, such as the one that occurred on Thursday in the wake of the tearing down of overhead lines. Of course, it’s of paramount importance to observe all safety procedures,” underlined Ersek, who believes that similar situations in which people are “held hostage” must never reoccur. The Transport Minister will demand explanation of the accident from the railways.

On Thursday at 8.10 p.m, EC 270 international train tore down the catenary on the stretch Mociar-Bratislava Main Train Station, with the traffic at the most busy railway junction between the main station, Bratislava Raca and Bratislava Vajnory shut down due to loss of power. Operation resumed on Friday at 4.50 a.m. on the section Mociar-Bratislava Main Train Station and at 6.10 a.m. between the main station and Bratislava Vinohrady.

According to the state-owned railway passenger carrier ZSSK Slovensko, 17 trains were delayed, 6 trains cancelled and 16 trains re-routed via Bratislava-Nove Mesto and Bratislava Predmestie stations.

The passenger carrier ZSSK extended apologies to passengers. Aside from long delays, people also complained about locked toilets and being left in darkness with no illumination. “Due to a great number of trains affected by the collapse of the overhead lines, it wasn’t possible to provide the necessary and sufficient amenities to all passengers,” conceded ZSSK spokesman Tomas Kovac, alluding to the fact that with the overhead lines fallen, trains were left without any supply of electric power.

According to Kovac, passengers are eligible for compensations based on which train they travelled on, with closer information available at the company’s website.