Rail regulator investigates KZN train accident

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pretoria - The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) says it is investigating the derailment of a goods train in KwaZulu-Natal which occurred earlier this morning.

A fully loaded grain train from the Free State derailed as it was approaching the Pietermaritzburg station, causing extensive damage to the infrastructure.

Eighteen wagons of the train, and its locomotives were derailed, and the train crew sustained minor injuries.

"The RSR will be conducting a comprehensive investigation into the state of the rolling stock, infrastructure, and operating procedures to ascertain all the factors which could have contributed to the accident," spokesperson Lawrence Venkile said on Tuesday.

He said the preliminary investigation suggested that speed may have been the immediate cause of the accident, resulting in a situation where the driver may have lost control of the locomotive.

As a result of the accident, railway traffic on the Natal main line was affected, and it was not clear at this stage when it will be re-opened.

Venkile said RSR will ensure that all causal factors to accidents of this nature were fully addressed in a sustainable way and that there was no recurrence of similar accidents in future.

"We remain concerned that incidents of this nature not only have a direct bearing on the cost of doing business through escalating maintenance and accident costs, but also have a serious impact on the economy," he added.