Rain delays clean-up work after train derailment

Henry

Persistent rain in KwaZulu-Natal has delayed Transnet Rail Freight’s (TFR) cleanup and recovery efforts near Richards Bay where two of its coal trains collided and derailed at Elubana on Sunday.

TFR said on Thursday that good progress had been made, however, and that the last debris was expected to be removed on Thursday evening. Railway line 2 should be back in operation before midnight on Thursday, while railway line 1 is expected to be back in operation on Saturday.

The accident caused major delays for major exporters who rely on the affected coal line to transport their commodities to the port.

The exact cause of the accident has not yet been determined, although according to local media reports, it is suspected that a power failure may have given rise to the incident.

The accident has since been reported to the Railway Safety Regulator while an internal investigation is also underway.

RNews reported earlier that the DA is demanding a “careful and transparent” investigation of the TFR.

Mimmy Gondwe, the DA’s spokesperson on public enterprises, says it is also essential that TFR make the full accident report public. She believes the accident could have easily been avoided if TFR had not dragged its feet in terms of digitizing the system that handles the scheduling and monitoring of its freight rail line.

“The impact of this latest accident now requires the TFR to provide detailed reasons for the delay in implementing a digitized system. A tender has already been issued in 2022 for such a system,” Gondwe said earlier.