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Russian transport ministry says train service on Crimean bridge will be restored by evening
Update: Sergey Aksyonov, head of annexed Crimea, announced on Telegram that car and bus travel has resumed on the bridge between Russia and Crimea. Vehicles approaching the bridge must undergo a “full inspection procedure.” Trucks are not allowed on the bridge at the moment and will have to use the ferry across the Kerch Strait. The local passenger train operator reports that the first trains which use the bridge have departed from Crimea.
The first trains after the explosion on Russia’s bridge to Crimea will run by 8:00pm Moscow time, reports Interfax, citing Russia’s Ministry of Transport.
“At the present time, an assessment of the bridge’s railway infrastructure and the possibility for trains to run is complete. Restoration work is underway,” the ministry announced, adding that there would be additional reports on the progress of the restoration work and the restoration of traffic.
Baza reports that, according to its data, 1.2 kilometers (about three quarters of a mile) of railway track was damaged on the bridge. Its total length is around 19 kilometers (12 miles).
The operator of passenger train service to Crimea, the company Grand Service Express, reports that it expects to send five trains across the bridge on the evening of October 8. The announcement concerned trains from Simferopol, Yevpatoria, and Sevastopol to Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kislovodsk.
Ferry service across the Kerch Strait will work only in the second half of the day on Sunday, October 9. Authorities in annexed Crimea announced earlier that the ferry would begin passenger crossings on October 8, however, there were later reports of difficult weather conditions hindering navigation.
Eight passenger trains were scheduled to leave Crimea on October 8, and five more were scheduled to arrive.
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Around 6:00am on October 8, a truck exploded on the bridge between Crimea and Russia. Three sections of one of the bridge’s two passenger car lanes collapsed. Because of the explosion, a train carrying oil tanks caught fire as it passed on the railway part of the bridge, located above the part for cars. At 3:00pm Moscow time, Russia’s Investigative Committee reported three deaths – car passengers who were near the truck at the time of the explosion. The committee did not clarify the fate of the truck driver (judging by footage of the incident, he was killed).
There are around 50,000 tourists in Crimea currently, according to the Russian Association of Tour Operators (ATOR). The bridge is the main transport route between the Crimean peninsula and the Russian region of Krasnodar.
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