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LANDSLIDE

Gotthard rail link reopens after landslide

Trains were set to run again on Switzerland's main north-south rail line from Monday after it was closed for more than a month following a landslide that killed a worker.

Gotthard rail link reopens after landslide
David Gubler, www.bahnbilder.ch

Initially only freight trains will use the Gotthard route in central Switzerland, but passenger trains will start to operate from Tuesday morning, news agency ATS reported.

On average, 120 freight trains use the line every day.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 cubic metres of rocks fell at Gurtnellen in Uri canton at the beginning of June, damaging the track and halting international and domestic services.

Two workers were injured in the slide and one was killed.

Following the accident, train operator CFF redirected freight trains via the Simplon tunnel and laid on replacement buses for passengers, adding an hour to journey times.

The cost of the disruption to the rail line is estimated at 10-20 million francs ($10.5-21 million), a CFF spokesman said.

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LANDSLIDE

Graubünden village faces new rockfall threat

The village of Bondo in the Val Bregaglia region of Graubünden is once more under threat of rockfalls just a few months after residents began to return home following a huge landslide that hit the village in August.

Graubünden village faces new rockfall threat
Bondo after last summer's landslides. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
Some four million cubic metres of rock detached from the Piz Cengalo mountain on August 23rd after a period of heavy rain, sending a wave of mud, rock and debris into the village that destroyed some properties and cut off vital services
 
The landslide was so severe that its vibrations were measured to be the equivalent of a 3 magnitude earthquake. 
 
Eight hikers were presumed killed in the tragedy – their bodies were never found – and the village, though thankfully evacuated in time, was left uninhabitable until October
 
Now the village is faced with the prospect of further rockfalls. 
 
Officials from the region told the media that another large rockfall occurred on the Piz Cengalo last week, and some two million cubic metres of rock remain unstable, with at least half of that at high risk of falling in the coming days. 
 
Torrential rain forecast for the area over the next few days, which is particularly bad news since the retention basin – built to help protect the village from rockfalls – has not yet been entirely emptied after the last landslide.