Safety sits on motorists’ shoulders

2017-05-30 06:00
Two people were injured in an accident at the Uxbridge Road level crossing.PHOTO: ER24

Two people were injured in an accident at the Uxbridge Road level crossing.PHOTO: ER24

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An accident at the Uxbridge Road level crossing last week left two injured and raised more concerns about safety at the crossing.

The accident happened on the same day a letter appeared in People’s Post in which a Lakeside resident explained how a crossing attendant, hired to wave a flag and warn motorists of approaching trains, had been asleep on the job (“Asleep at the track”, 23 May).

Crossing attendants were appointed at level crossings along the train line following an accident in January, when a truck struck the level-crossing boom at the Albertyn Road intersection, creating “major damage” to overhead wires and “decimating” signalling equipment (“Crossing opened”, People’s Post, 21 February).

In the Uxbridge Road accident on Tuesday, a train crashed into a car, leaving the two occupants in a serious medical condition. Both had to be cut free of the car, says ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring (“Accident injures two in Lakeside”,, 23 May).

The cause of the accident is still under investigation, says Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott. She adds that the allegations made against the crossing attendant are “serious” and “contrary to train operating rules”.

She says Metrorail’s business risk department will investigate the allegations.

“We do our utmost to provide crossing attendants at the level crossings currently impacted by the reconstruction and repairs after a heavy delivery truck decimated our signalling infrastructure. Most level crossings do not have suitable facilities for attendants (ablutions, shelter, etc). Trains have right of way at road/rail level crossing intersections as they operate on fixed infrastructure and cannot take evasive action during emergencies,” she says.

“Similar to traffic signals being out of order, the onus remains on pedestrians and motorists to comply with road signage.”

As further safety measures, Scott adds, train drivers are obligated to sound sirens when approaching level crossings and put their headlights on bright. Trains are currently running on a reduced speed.

If any corrective or preventive recommendations flow from the investigation into Tuesday’s accident, these will be considered, Scott says.

Metrorail is in the process of buying the new equipment needed to fix the damaged signalling infrastructure. The service is expected to be restored by September.


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