Rovos accident interrupts services

2010-04-22 09:19

Cape Town - Metrorail said on Thursday it expected train services to resume in "about two days" after the train tracks between Centurion and Bosman stations in Pretoria were damaged when a Rovos  Rail luxury train derailed, killing three people.

"Due to rehabilitation work between Pretoria and Centurion as a result of yesterday's (Wednesday) derailment, that line will remain closed," spokesperson Sibusiso Ngomane told News24 on Thursday.

Ngomane said although they had no exact indication as to when the line might be ready, "judging by the damage", it might take "two days to have the line certified safe".

He said Metrorail had hired buses to ferry passengers between the two affected stations for as long as the disruption will run.
Assessment costs on the damage have yet to be concluded, said Ngomane.

Customers can contact Metrorail customer services on 0800 127 070 for more information.

Ngomane said the company would like convey its condolences to the families of those killed in the accident and wished a speedy recovery for all those injured.

Good track record

Meanwhile investigations into the accident are continuing.

Railway Safety Regulator spokesperson Lawrence Venkile said investigations were focused on the "integrity of the trains braking system and procedures followed by personnel during the coupling and decoupling of the train".

He said however that Rovos Rail had a "good track record" and that a recent assessment by the regulator on the company had found that it had "good safety management in place".

Although this was the first accident by the established rail company that the regulator has had to deal with, Venkile said its seriousness "warranted thorough investigation".

Venkile said although this might take a while, investigators were keeping in mind Minister of Transport Sbusiso Ndebele's request that investigations be concluded as soon as possible.

"We are confident that in the next week we will be able to put a preliminary report on the table," he said. 

He said after investigations of this nature the regulator would issue directives which should the company fail to follow, would lead to their licence being revoked.

"But that is only a worst case scenario," he said.

Rovos Rail was not immediately available for comment.

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