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Construction likely cause of derailment: Prasa

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Construction work and a lack of communication was likely the cause of a train derailment outside Kimberley late on Tuesday night, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) said.

Repair work, which was meant to have been completed early on Wednesday, was being done on that section of the line, Prasa spokesperson, Mthura Swartz said.

“The protocol is that this information must be relayed to the driver, so that they can proceed with caution in that section. According to the preliminary investigation, this information was not communicated, so the driver proceeded at normal speed.”

There were 101 passengers on board the brand new Shosholoza Meyl train when it derailed near Modderivier about 30km outside Kimberley at around 23:30 on Tuesday night.

Sixty people were treated for shock and four sustained minor injuries. They were taken to Kimberley Hospital. All of them, except for the assistant train driver, who was being kept under observation, had since been discharged.

The 11-coach train was en route from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

The Afro4000, one of Prasa’s new, imported locomotives, was pulling the coaches. Swartz stressed that Transnet had approved their use on that line and that they were safe to run on it.

Rapport newspaper reported in July that the locomotives were unsafe for local conditions as they were too high and would damage overhead cables. Prasa has denied this. News24

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