PRASA loco not to blame for Northern Cape derailment
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has attributed maintenance to rail infrastructure and a lack of communication as the reasons for yesterday evening’s derailment involving one of its Shosholoza Meyl long distance passenger trains.
A reported 101 passengers were on-board when the 16 coach train, headed by one of the rail provider’s controversial Afro 4000 diesel locomotive, partially derailed near the small town of Modderrivier in the Northern Cape, some 500 meters before crossing a bridge over the Rietriver which had been under construction. The train had been on-route from Johannesburg to Cape Town.
Speaking in a statement, PRASA Spokesperson Mthura Swartz said no information was provided about the ongoing construction work as required, leaving to the driver proceeding as normal.
He however ruled out the possibility of the accident having had anything to do with the locomotive, which was discovered last months as having exceeded imposed height limits on sections with overhead wires.
“Transnet gave us permission to use the locomotives and it had nothing to do with the accident. The height of the locomotive also played no part in the accident,” the Diamond Fields Advertiser quoted him as saying.
It has since been alleged that the train was travelling at 90 km/h instead of the imposed 30 km/h on sections under maintenance, although confirmation of this is still needed.
A reported twelve passengers, including the driver and his assistant, were taken to hospital in Kimberly 35 km away, while 63 were admitted for observation having suffered from shock. The line as meanwhile been closed.
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