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'Train crash might have been an accident'

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'Train crash might have been an accident'
15:34 CET+01:00
As sightseers flocked to the train that remains lodged inside a Stockholm house after a cleaning lady crashed it on Tuesday, officials have backed down and admitted the incident may indeed have been an accident.

Two days after a train ploughed into a house in the wealthy Stockholm suburb of Saltsjöbaden, the scene has become a popular destination for onlookers eager to catch an in-person glimpse of the unusual spectacle.

Meanwhile, police and officials are still none the wiser as to why a 22-year-old cleaning lady was driving the train in the first place.

“It might have been an accident,” Tomas Hedenius, a spokesman for the train's operator Arriva, told The Local.

Hedenius stated soon after the incident that the cleaner “for unknown reasons stole the train”, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper, but by Thursday had changed track.

“We still don't know for sure and we're investigating, and waiting for the police to finish their investigation,” he told The Local.

Related gallery: The Local's images from the scene of the crash

A report in the Aftonbladet newspaper citing anonymous sources said police are working on the theory that the cleaner accidentally tripped a driver safety device when folding down the driver's seat as she was leaving the cabin.

However, police spokesman Lars Byström refused to confirm the theory, saying only that the investigation is ongoing and that the cleaner still remains suspected of a crime, with police hoping to be able to speak with her on Thursday.

An emergency team has so far managed to take away the rear two carriages of the train, but has struggled to remove the remaining two, one of which is firmly inside the kitchen of one of the flats in the small block of apartments.

“We're working with engineers and calculating how to extract the other two carriages without damaging the house any more. We are stabilizing both the house and the carriages, and we estimate the train will be removed by mid-next week,” Hedenius said.

With only a thin tape surrounding the scene, Stockholmers are making the trip out to the end of the train line in droves to see the event for themselves.

“You've heard of a flying carpet – well here's the flying train,” the driver of the replacement bus told passengers as the vehicle pulled up at the site.

And it's not only the driver who is excited. Annika Enander, who runs the Stationshuset coffee shop directly next to the crash site, said she's never seen so many people in the area.

“People are astonished. No one can believe their eyes. But it's got everyone talking. Everyone has a theory,” she told The Local.

“It's tragic, but at the same time, the whole thing is amazing. It's like a spaceship has landed here.”

RELATED PHOTO GALLERY: More images from the scene of the crash

Meanwhile, Dutch students Pepijn and Valentijn were also gobsmacked by the incident.

“It's crazy, I've never seen a train in a house,” Pepijn said.

“It's really lucky that no one was hurt,” his friend added.

Back at Arriva, spokesman Hedenius admitted that the incident was most likely a one-of-a-kind event.

“It's a spectacular accident and I'm just relieved that it didn't cause any further damage, and that no one was killed,” he told The Local.

“I've never seen anything like it before and I hope I won't again.”

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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