Regulator investigates train derailment

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pretoria - The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) is investigating the derailment of a freight train in Ekurhuleni.

A train which had been transporting anhydrous ammonia, derailed and caught alight on the Mapleton-Rooikop line on Tuesday. It is suspected that the line was tampered with.

The train driver and assistant sustained slight injuries and were taken to hospital. The railway line is closed and is expected to remain so for clean up operations to be completed.

The regulator said it was concerned that this was the fourth derailment in recent times on the same stretch of railway line. "There has been a spate of incidents in which freight trains on the Mapleton-Rooikop line are brought to a stop, after which their cargo is stolen," RSR said.

The regulator said the incidents had highlighted the importance of the ongoing Festive Season Railway Safety Awareness Campaign. Additionally implementing railway safety measures remains the responsibility of the operators and this is overseen by the regulator.

The campaign is a joint effort of the South African Police Service, the Transport Department, the Railway Safety Regulator, Transnet Freight Rail, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and community organisations.

The campaign, launched on 3 December, educates the public with the aim of reducing loss of life, harm to people, crime as well as damage to infrastructure and property in and near South Africa's railways.

After the festive season, a joint campaign with the Railway Police will be rolled out in 2010. The campaign will kick off in the first half of the year, particularly around host cities, provinces and commuter routes for the FIFA 2010 World Cup.