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Submerged rails blamed for Phelophepa II train derailment

The Transnet-Phelophepa trains are free, mobile healthcare clinics which travel to areas in rural South Africa. File image

The Transnet-Phelophepa trains are free, mobile healthcare clinics which travel to areas in rural South Africa. File image

Published Jan 19, 2022

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Pretoria - Heavy rains that submerged parts of the rail network were the likely cause of the derailment of the Phelophepa II Healthcare Train on Wednesday evening close to Adelaide in the Eastern Cape.

“At approximately 18:05 seven coaches of the Phelophepa II Healthcare Train derailed,” said Transnet SOC spokesperson Ayanda Shezi.

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The globally acclaimed healthcare train was en route to Mthatha as part of the planned 2022 communities to be visited.

“Initial indications are that the derailment is as a result of heavy rainfall in the area over the past few weeks, which may have affected the formation of the track,” said Shezi.

“The current heavy rains across South Africa have had an adverse impact on the rail network across many parts of the country, with parts of the network submerged underwater in some provinces.”

Shezi said a comprehensive investigation is being undertaken to establish the cause of this derailment.

“At the time of the derailment, there was a skeleton staff on-board comprising essential Phelophepa personnel, security, and the driver,” said Shezi.

“There were no fatalities. One security guard sustained minor injuries and was treated on the scene by Emergency Medical Services.”

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Transnet freight rail’s incident response team and local law enforcement were on-site attending to the incident.

The Phelophepa Healthcare Trains comprise two primary healthcare trains that have been providing quality medical services for the past 27 years across the South African landscape.

Phelophepa I is unaffected and will continue with scheduled services as planned.

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“Safety of all involved in the project as well as our commitment to improve access to quality healthcare by communities remains our top priority,” said Shezi.

“Services of the Phelophepa II will be restored once the train is declared safe for operations.”

IOL

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