STA, 14 August 2019 - A train has derailed at the Rimske Toplice train station for a second time in just a few days, closing down the railway line between Zidani Most and Maribor, a major artery for international passenger and cargo traffic.
The national railway operator Slovenske Železnice confirmed media reports that the engine of an international freight train and one of the rail cars derailed on Wednesday afternoon.
Matjaž Kranjc, the boss of the operator's infrastructure division, told the public broadcaster TV Slovenija that the incident occurred at 5:20pm as the 21-car train travelling between Koper and Hodoš on the border with Hungry arrived at the station.
The incident occurred at almost exactly the same spot at which two Hungarian passenger train carriages derailed eight days ago. None of the 200 passengers aboard the international train at the time was injured. The station was also the site of an accident in 2012.
The CEO of Slovenske Železnice Dušan Mes told the press last week that the accident was most likely due to a train carriage malfunction rather than flawed infrastructure.
The section of the railway between Zidani Most and Rimske Toplice is currently undergoing an upgrade, including of the Rimske Toplice station.
Asked why accidents at this section of the railway, Kranjc said that all of them occurred at a side bend at very low speeds.
As part of a comprehensive overhaul of the railway between Zidani Most and Celje, construction work is under way on the left track between Rimske Toplice and Laško, so this section of the railway is closed.
All trains coming from the direction of Zidani Most thus need to cross over to the right track on arrival at the Rimske Toplice station.
Kranjc could not say yet what caused the derailment, but said that the switch and the entire track at the section was in good condition and had been repaired after last week's derailment.
Firefighters are on the site examining the fuel spill from the engine. Police and Infrastructure Ministry investigators are also at work on the site.
Once they have completed their job, the engine will be put back on the rails, which should be completed during the night so that the railway could reopen on Thursday.
The official also announced an independent investigation into the cause of the incident. Until the findings are produced, traffic on the section will be restricted or adjusted.
For the duration of the railway's closure, passenger services will be provided by coaches.