News24

Criminals may have derailed train

2010-06-30 21:14

Polokwane - Criminals may have deliberately tampered with railway lines near Polokwane with the intention of derailing the train to rob it, the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) said on Wednesday.

"Our preliminary investigation has revealed that someone may have interfered with the railway line lever near a crossing with an intent to bring (the) train to a halt," said RSR general manager for safety assurance Carvel Webb.

He said criminals did this to rob trains carrying cargo.

On Monday, a Shosholoza Meyl train carrying 90 passengers derailed outside Polokwane. Its coaches and locomotive remained upright

The derailment happened on the Polokwane-Groenbult line, as the train approached Radiokoffie Station.

A technical assistant on the train was slightly injured.

"Stemming from this latest development regarding the tampering, the RSR is talking to the operator and has instructed that security for their infrastructure be improved," said Webb.

The RSR had also recommended that speed trains reduce their speed when passing isolated areas until the rail operator had put security in place.

Webb said the RSR had seen an increase in vandalism and theft of rail infrastructure throughout the country.