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Construction of the Severomuisk Tunnel in 1991

Photo: Vladimir Matviyevsky / ITAR-TASS / IMAGO

In the Severomoisk tunnel in Russia, the fire of at least one railway car has apparently caused major destruction. The incident is reported by the BBC and the Russian Telegram channel Baza. The fire on the freight train is said to have occurred on Wednesday, according to the East Siberian Traffic Prosecutor's Office. Reports of damage vary widely in some cases.

According to the Interfax news agency, there were no human "casualties".

Meanwhile, the Baza canal reported that three tank cars had been damaged. One of them was completely burned out. The train driver heard a bang in front of the fire, it said. The channel also reported that the train had been carrying fuel and aviation fuel in more than 40 wagons.

Reports about the possible cause of the fire also vary widely. Baza initially wrote that the trigger was a cable fire, and that fuel had leaked from one of the wagons. According to the report, there is also another fire on another freight train that is traveling on a bypass track.

SBU may have planted explosive devices

The BBC, citing Ukrainian security circles, reports that Ukraine's domestic intelligence service (SBU) is said to have carried out an explosive attack on the train. According to the report, four explosive devices are said to have detonated during the train's journey. The SBU initially did not comment on the incident.

None of the representations can be independently verified at present.

Located in the autonomous republic of Buryatia in southeastern Russia, the Severomuisk Tunnel is the longest railway tunnel in the country at more than 15 kilometers. Its construction began in the <>s and lasted for decades. According to the BBC, the freight route is important for Russia's trade with China and could thus also be strategically important for Russia's war against Ukraine.

It is unclear to what extent other train traffic was affected by the fire.