An alleged lack of communication between Transnet and Prasa caused the Kimberley train derailment, a preliminary report says.

Johannesburg - The failure by Transnet to inform the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) about a new train speed restriction led to the derailment of a passenger train in which 63 people were injured in Kimberley, the Railway Safety Regulator said on Friday.

The RSR released the preliminary report into the accident that happened on August 18.

According to the report, the derailment occurred on “cross over points” while the train was moving from the main line to a newly constructed line.

“On the day of the incident the perway team constructed the joggle joints from the mainline to the new line to divert the traffic. It was reported that the speed restriction of 30km/h was introduced at approximately 18h25. According to the information received the train driver was travelling at the speed of approximately 81km/h.”

“It appears that Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) failed to communicate with Prasa about a newly introduced temporary speed restriction. The train driver failed to observe warning signs, which caused the derailment of eleven coaches and one locomotive.”

The Shosholoza Meyl train was reportedly one of the Spanish-manufactured Afro 4000 diesel locomotives purchased for R600 million by former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana, who was fired in July. The trains were deemed not suitable for South Africa’s railway infrastructure.

Data downloaded from the locomotive, and used in the investigation, was in Spanish, the RSR said.

The organisation added that it would conduct a full independent inquiry into the incident.

The probe would look into personnel and their training, adherence to train operating rules by train drivers and the adequacy of maintenance systems and procedures for signals and radio communication network.

ANA