Second coal train derails in recent weeks, Transnet to launch probe

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This past weekend, a train with 208 wagons carrying export coal to Richards Bay derailed near Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal.
This past weekend, a train with 208 wagons carrying export coal to Richards Bay derailed near Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal.
Gallo Images/Foto24/Deaan Vivier
  • A 208-wagon-long train loaded with export coal derailed in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal over the weekend.
  • The last major derailment that Transnet suffered of this nature occurred in Ermelo, Mpumalanga in May.
  • Transnet is now launching an investigation.

This past weekend, a train with 208 wagons carrying export coal to Richards Bay derailed near Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal, Transnet confirmed on Tuesday. Thirty wagons went off the tracks.

Given that it is the second derailment in weeks, Transnet will launch an investigation. In May, Transnet saw a major derailment near Ermelo, Mpumalanga.

The state-owned freight rail utility said there were no deaths or injuries in the incident at Dassieshoogte near Vryheid, and that it was the first time in 12 years that the area saw a derailment.

However, Transnet said that this was the second major derailment of the current financial year.

"Though the frequency is not high, these derailments have severe consequences for the SA coal value chain, our customers, Transnet and the SA economy at large," said a Transnet statement released on Tuesday morning.

The line was cleared by Sunday afternoon and a single line will be operational for the next few days.

"Transnet is working around the clock to clear the balance of the wagons so that the repair work can commence on line 1. Transnet wishes to thank our recovery crews on an expedient and sterling piece of work done thus far," the statement read.

Transnet plans to review all of its derailments in recent months, to identify trends, causes and contributing factors with a view of preventing needless losses.

"There are serious risks in a recovery system based on emergency procurement, which may be open to abuse not only internally, but by suppliers who benefit from such incidents occurring.

"As part of addressing this challenge, we will be insourcing more of this work, and reducing our reliance on external service providers," the statement read.

Transnet also plans to increase accountability of executives who are responsible for rail corridors.

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