St Gothard fire raises Alpine transport stakes

Pressure rises for greater rail freight investment as countries introduce emergency measures

Sustainable transport in the Alpine region is in the spotlight as policy makers struggle to deal with the consequences of last week's fire in the St Gothard road tunnel, which is now known to have killed 11 people. Switzerland, Austria, France and Italy have all introduced emergency short-term measures. Pressure has increased for a longer term shift in freight transport to rail.

Among immediate reactions to the accident, the French government has finally agreed to reopen the Mont Blanc tunnel, itself closed since 1999 after an accident there. In agreement with the Italian authorities a system of alternating one-way traffic flow is to be introduced through the Mont Blanc and Fréjus tunnels to reduce the risk of accidents.

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