Luxury train operator Rovos Rail suffered R15-million in damages after a derailment in which three people were killed, owner Rohan Vos said on Thursday.

"We had insurance and we will now see what happens... the damage amounts to about R15-million," Vos told Sapa.

He said Rovos Rail had enough other coaches to continue with its service as normal.

Vos said he was standing on the platform in Pretoria when the accident happened on Wednesday morning.

"I was standing on the platform waiting for the train to arrive and was informed about the accident about five minutes after it happened," he said.

An international news agency quoted Vos on Wednesday as saying, "I screamed at the others to jump off... I jumped off while it was moving".

But Vos said this was untrue.

The train was en route from Cape Town to Capital Park station in Pretoria carrying mostly foreign tourists.

It had stopped outside Pretoria for a routine change from an electric to a steam locomotive.

The train started moving downhill after the electric locomotive was removed, but before the steam locomotive was attached. Many coaches derailed, falling on their sides across the tracks.

The Railway Safety Regular said it was investigating possible brake failure as the cause of the crash.

"We've reached the stage where we are beginning to interview people who were involved, including the technical staff on the train," said Railway Safety Regulator spokesman Lawrence Venkile.

"We would also want to recreate the accident," he said.

Venkile said investigators were focusing on "whether standard operating procedures were followed to the letter" during the attachment of the locomotives.

"We are also looking at the integrity of the braking system and if it was functioning as it should," he said.

Three women employed by Rovos Rail died - two on the scene and one in hospital. One of the women was four months pregnant and went into labour at the time of the accident. The baby also died.

There were 55 passengers on board - mostly foreign tourists - and 30 Rovos Rail employees.

About 40 of the passengers were American tourists, of whom ten were taken to hospital.

United States Embassy spokeswoman Sharon Hudson-Dean said most of them had been discharged by Thursday morning.

"The information is that four Americans remained in hospital this morning," she told Sapa.

There were also South African, German, British and French tourists on board.

Metrorail said it would take at least two days to clear the scene.

Amid widespread disruptions to its services, it had made special arrangements for its customers.

Those in Pretoria could travel to Bosman station, from where they would be bussed to Centurion station. Customers from Johannesburg would be bussed from Centurion to Bosman station, said spokeswoman Nana Zenani.

Meanwhile, Shosholoza Meyl passengers travelling between Johannesburg, Komatipoort and Musina were advised to note several route changes as a result of the accident.

It advised passengers in a statement that they would be transported via bus to the nearest available stations that were able to operate normally.

Rovos Rail offers luxurious trips across southern Africa, with a 28-day Cape Town to Cairo trip costing around US56,000. - Sapa