Fires raise fears for train safety

By Drum Digital
02 December 2016

Railway safety in South Africa has been put on the spotlight, after four trains were burnt at the Thornton station in Cape Town on Thursday night.

According to Metro Rail no one was injured in the incident, and vandalism could be at the centre of the chaos.

According to the 2016 State of Safety Report by the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR), the South African Government has spent over R200 billion on train fires in 2015/2016. Furthermore, about R92 billion was spent on damage due to theft and vandalism, R129 billion on collisions and R400 billion on derailments.

In the report, RSR’s Chief Executive Officer Nkululeko Poya says action has been taken to reduce the number of these occurrences.

“We have significantly increased the number of technology reviews, audits and inspections, as well as investigations and have also broadened our scope and reach into communities, schools and the general public.” he says.

RSR has given commuters tips on how to keep safe at a train station:

1 When walking, Always stop, look both ways, and listen for trains before crossing the tracks.

2 Cross railroad tracks only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings and obey all warning signs and signals.

3 Look for flashing headlights and listen for warning bells and horns.

4 Wait at least 5 m behind the stop line when waiting for a train to pass.

5 When driving, wait at least 5 m behind the stop line when waiting for a train to pass.

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