Swiss precision

Thieves with perfect timing held up a Swiss Federal Railways service on December 11, making off with 26 mailbags. They appear to have used similar tactics to those employed in Britain’s Great Train Robbery of 1963. At 22.30 two masked men ordered the driver of Train 744, a St Gallen - Genève InterCity service, to bring his charge to a halt near Riex with the postal van at the rear of train positioned exactly on a bridge over a road. In dense fog and surrounded only by fields of vines, the two men then joined three accomplices to throw the mailbags down to three cars waiting on the road below.

Switzerland’s Great Train Robbers were unwittingly aided in their task by the postal employee in sole charge of the mail van who, curious as to the cause of the unscheduled stop, unlocked the door - in breach of regulations. Postal officials were unable to confirm the exact size of the haul, principally cash, jewellery and other valuables contained in registered letters loaded during Train 744’s stops at Zürich, Bern and Fribourg.