Rail still the safest mode of transport, says Metrorail following Germiston collision

2018-01-09 22:13
Metrorail train. (Netwerk24)

Metrorail train. (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg – As Metrorail assured commuters that rail was still the safest travel option, Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi directed the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to fast-track its plans to modernise all rail services.

This follows a collision between two trains in Germiston on Tuesday where more than 200 people were injured.

Also, in less than a week, 19 people died after Shosholoza Meyl collided with a truck near Kroonstad in the Free State.

"A budget of about R5.6bn has been set aside for the signalling modernisation since 2015 to 2018, as we know that our rail network has been previously characterised by years of disinvestment by the apartheid regime," Maswanganyi said.

"Cable theft remains one of the major challenges that keep on undermining our determination and efforts to provide a safe and secured railway experience for all South Africans," the minister said.

"Both these trains were authorised to travel on the same line toward Springs from Johannesburg," said Ishmael Mnisi, spokesperson for the minister, speaking about Tuesday's incident.

He said investigators on the scene had classified the crash as a "rear-end-vision on the platform and a comprehensive investigation is underway".

"To further alleviate inconveniences to the commuters, trains running between Johannesburg and Germiston are running on as single line with delays in scheduling," he said.

Well wishes for injured

"Prasa will give the injured and their families the most needed comfort and support during this period," Mnisi said.

He said the minister also wished injured commuters a speedy recovery. Metrorail spokesperson Lillian Mofokeng said the two trains collided at the train station in Geldenhuys, Germiston, east of Johannesburg.

"Both trains were travelling from Johannesburg towards Springs and we have 226 commuters that were injured in this accident," she said.

Mofokeng said the trains collided with each other on the same line while one of them was stationary. She said the cause of the crash would be investigated.

She also wished commuters who were hurt during the incident a speedy recovery. "We want to assure the public out there that rail is still the safest mode of transport," she said.

Read more on:    metrorail  |  prasa  |  joe maswanganyi  |  transport
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