Human error, ineffective communication led to Denver train crash

2016-03-14 13:17
(Russel Meiring, ER24)

(Russel Meiring, ER24)

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Johannesburg - A lack of maintenance, ineffective communication, human factors, and ineffective allocation of capital funding contributed to the train accident in Denver, Johannesburg last year that left one person dead.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters released a report into the 2015 accident on Monday. 

At least 200 people were injured when a Business Express train crashed into a stationary Metro Plus train at the Denver station on April 28. 

The report found that there was a power outage on the day at the George Goch CTC [centralised traffic control], which affected the normal functioning of the telephone lines as well as the trunk radio system. There was no back-up power supply.

The drivers and controllers had to resort to using their cellphones for communications.

A board of inquiry recommended that a competent person or contractor be appointed to assist with the immediate maintenance and repairs of the existing trunk radio system and related equipment.

“Prasa [Passenger Rail Agency of SA] must, as a matter of urgency, provide a separate power supply back up to the VoIP [Voice over Internet Protocol] telephone system and the trunk radio system or couple these systems to the existing backup supply at all CTCs,” said Peters.

The report also found that the driver of the Business Express train was driving at a speed of 91 km/h in a 70 km/h zone.

The driver applied the brakes at approximately 332m from the point of impact. The distance was found to be too short to bring the train to a complete stop without colliding with the stationery train.

Peters said Prasa had to prioritise the implementation of the Automated Train Protection System to avoid human error, which caused accidents such as this one.

“Prasa must review the maintenance expenditure budget in light of the fact that the infrastructure is old and needs high maintenance,” she said.

Read more on:    prasa  |  johannesburg  |  accidents

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