Train tragedy— no estimated time of reopening the line

MATLABAS — On Friday 18 October Transnet Freight Rail issued a press release regarding the head-on collision between two trains at the Matlabas crossing (between Thabazimbi and Lephalale) on Tuesday 15 October.

The release confirmed that a train with 100 loaded coal wagons collided in the loop with a stationary train carrying 89 empty wagons.

“The train driver and assistant train driver of the empty train, JD van Staden and Pheneas Mokgopong, were fatally injured, and the driver and assistant from the loaded train, Khomotso Khunou and Mamsy Mashiloane, were severely injured and taken to a nearby hospital”, Warrant Officer Frans Mokoena, Lephalale Cluster spokesperson, confirmed.

On Friday, the extent of damage to infrastructure was, according to Transnet, still to be determined. What was known was that the empty train set had two burnt-out locomotives and one derailed on its side.

At the time of going to print, the line was still closed, and there was no estimated time of reopening. Transnet however assured that recovery teams are on-site to clear the scene and carry out repairs to damaged infrastructure.

“Engineers and senior management are on the scene, and a line investigation will be conducted to determine initial causes of the accident. Within seven days a Board of Inquiry (BOI) will be set up chaired by an independent arbiter,” Transnet stated in the press release.

Transnet’s Acting Group Chief Executive Mr Mohammed Mahomedy and Transnet Freight Rail, Acting Chief Executive Mr Lloyd Tobias, have expressed their sincerest condolences to the families of those who tragically lost their lives and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

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