Rail mix-up leaves 135 tourists in wrong country

19th Aug 2010
Rail mix-up leaves 135 tourists in wrong country

More than 100 tourists who boarded a night-train destined for Milan were given a surprise detour when they woke up in Switzerland instead of Italy due to a points failure.

The Salvador Dali was sent 280km (175 miles) off course after signallers split the train and mixed up which carriages to send to Zurich and which to Milan.

135 holidaymakers hoping to wake up in Italy’s fashion capital were instead greeted by the skyscrapers of Switzerland’s financial capital.

The trip began on Sunday, when 300 passengers boarded the sleeper in Barcelona.

Early on Monday, the train arrived at the French city of Lyon but it is thought signallers made a mistake during the points switch.


Spanish rail authority Renfe blamed French train operator SNCF, adding: “You’ll have to ask them why they got it wrong.”

At Geneva, Swiss rail workers realised the error and redirected the Milan train to Zurich, where passengers transferred to a replacement coach service to reach their original destination.

Passengers destined for Zurich were re-routed back to Lyon, from where they continued to the Swiss city, eventually arriving a reported four hours behind schedule.

The affected passengers did end up at their correct destinations and were promised a refund.


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