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"the keys were in the train"

Cleaner "stole and crashed" commuter train

Updated tisdag 15 januari 2013 kl 15.45
Published tisdag 15 januari 2013 kl 18.45
"It's quite an unbelievable scene"
(3:18 min)
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Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/Scanpix
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Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/Scanpix
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Photo: Lasse Persson/SR
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Photo: Lasse Persson/SR
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Photo: Lasse Persson/SR
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Emergency services were quickly on the scene. Photo: Erik Petersson/Sveriges Radio.
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The accident took place east of Stockholm. Image: Sveriges Radio

Update with more details: 18:45

A woman has been placed under arrest after stealing a commuter train and crashing it through the end of line barrier in Saltsjöbaden, southeast of Stockholm, at around 3 am on Tuesday morning, plunging directly into an apartment building.

No one in the building was injured, but the woman driving the train was taken to the hospital in a  helicopter ambulance. The train was not in service at the time, and there were no passengers.

According to Stockholm Public Transport (SL) the woman was a cleaner employed by the train operator Arriva. SL’s head of information, Suss Forssman Thullberg, tells the TT news agency that the train was stolen from the depot and driven away at high speed, reportedly as fast as 80 kilometers an hour.

Radio Stockholm reports the cleaner was able to do this because the keys were in the train, which is against the rules.

Lars H Eriksson, head of security for Stockholm Public told Swedish Radio that it appears that the train company Arriva has not followed security regulations as all drivers are supposed to take their keys with them when they leave a train.  

“Of course it’s remarkable that a person with no authorization or training can manage anyway to drive away a train,” he said.

“We need to look again at our safety routines to see how we can prevent this kind of thing happening again.”

Neighbours and curious local residents have been flocking to the scene of the accident since early morning. One of them was Claes Ellgar who lives next door to the house which the train ran into.

“I woke from an incredible crash and wondered if I should get up or if it was just some snow that had fallen off the roof,” he told Radio Stockholm.

“Well I got up - and saw the train standing there.”

The woman has been placed under arrest for endangering the public. Lars Byström, head of information for the police in Stockholm County tells Radio Stockholm:

“We’re now trying to find witnesses as well as to answer the question ‘why?’”

Radio Stockholm's reporter on the spot says residents have been told they may not be able to move back into their flats for six months. It is also unclear whether their household insurance will cover the damage caused by the train.

Björn Littke of the insurance company Trygghansa tells Radio Stockholm “Right now I’m doing everything I can to help the residents in the best way.”

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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