FS Italiane checks safety procedures in the Simplon railway tunnel

Milan, 12 September 2021

In an emergency, verifying the effectiveness of the procedures set out in the Italian-Swiss Bi-national Emergency Plan for events within the Simplon gallery, the response times and the coordination of structures in the territory means putting into practice the periodic training of railway personnel, together with the entities and institutions involved in the rescue operations.

With these objectives, the civil protection exercise took place today in the Simplon tunnel, organised by the prefecture of Verbano Cusio Ossola and by the Swiss cantonal bodies in collaboration with the FS Italiane Group, SBB, the Piedmont Region’s Civil Protection and the Italian and Swiss emergency agencies.

The scenario of the exercise

The derailment of a passenger train inside the Simplon tunnel was simulated with the aim of testing the joint Italian-Swiss rescue system. The exercise took place from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm, with the interruption of railway traffic on the Briga-Domodossola section.

The communication protocols envisaged for handling the emergency were promptly activated, with the involvement of the interested parties: the Municipality of Varzo’s Civil Protection, the Piedmont Region’s Civil Protection, Civil Protection Volunteers, the Fire Brigade, Law Enforcement (Police Headquarters, Polfer – being the Railway Police – and the Carabinieri), AREU 118, SBB and the Rete Ferroviaria Italiana.

Upon reaching the scene, the first responders helped those in the role of passengers to exit from the tunnel and provided the necessary assistance. At the same time, technicians secured the train and infrastructure to facilitate a swift restoration of traffic.