In the United States you might get sued for this. But this is Switzerland and Swiss Rail has decided that getting your head hit by a broom from time to time is far better than getting it knocked off by something harder like a tunnel entrance or a piece of construction equipment. How refreshingly practical.
Some older Swiss trains without air-conditioning have slide-down windows and some travellers, often tourists, like to stick their heads out to take photos. These carriages are progressively being taken out of service but until they are the risk remains.
The brooms are mounted horizontally on vertical poles leaving a small gap between their brush ends and passing trains and are placed before some tunnels and construction sites. If a passenger pokes their head out it gets “cleaned” as the train passes the outstretched broom and the head is automatically pulled back in before the train reaches a much less forgiving object such as a tunnel entrance.
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Some have mistaken the brooms for train cleaning devices rather than no-nonsense Swiss safety equipment.
The photo above appeared on Twitter and on the newspaper 20 Minuten’s website and shows brooms in Lucerne where they protect passenger heads from a construction site right next to the tracks.
Next time you are on a Swiss train mind your head or it might get “cleaned”.
Article in 20 Minuten (in German)