'Speeding' Shosholoza Meyl stopped in its tracks following fatal train crash

2020-02-19 08:28
The scene of the train collision in Horizon, Johannesburg.

The scene of the train collision in Horizon, Johannesburg. (Supplied by Arrive Alive)

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The Shosholoza Meyl, a long-distance train service operated by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), has been ordered to stop operating with immediate effect. 

This follows a fatal train crash on February 12, which left one man dead and several others injured when a goods and passenger train collided on the tracks near Bonny Doone Road in Horizon View, west of Johannesburg.

The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) on Tuesday evening said it had concluded its preliminary investigation into the collision of the trains to determine the facts which contributed to the accident.

According to RSR, the preliminary investigation found that the trains in question were manually authorised on to the section and the speed data showed that the Prasa train was travelling at 60km/h at the time of impact.

"This exceeds the 30km/h speed restriction imposed on a line that is operated under manual authorisation," RSR spokesperson Madelein Williams said.  

"Furthermore, the inquiry indicates that both trains were manually authorised by the Maraisburg Central Traffic Control Centre and the authorities for both the goods and passenger trains were not countersigned by the section manager. The latter is a serious contravention of a special condition that was issued to Prasa by the RSR upon the issuing of the current temporary operating permit.

"Prasa was placed under judicial supervision and ordered by the court to comply with the conditions imposed on the operating permit. According to this special condition, all manual authorisation must be countersigned by the section managers," Williams said. 

Consequently, the RSR has issued Prasa with a prohibition directive that prohibits all Shosholoza Meyl operations with immediate effect.

"The safety of commuters and the workforce is our utmost priority. The RSR will ensure that Prasa honours this prohibition and manages it in such a manner that improves levels of safety before the RSR will lift the prohibition.

"The RSR, therefore, recommends a board of inquiry with the main objective of determining the facts of the occurrence, the immediate and underlying causes, and will make recommendations with the intent to prevent or reduce the risk of similar occurrences."

Read more on:    prasa  |  johannesburg  |  accidents  |  public transport
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