Cable theft blamed for fatal train accident
METRORAIL has blamed cable theft for a crash that led to a man dying when two trains collided at Elandsfontein train station in Germiston yesterday.
The crash left 102 people injured, five severely.
Gauteng Metrorail acting provincial manager Goodman Matampi said that at the time of the accident, the trains were being manually authorised between Olifantsfontein and Elandsfontein because of the theft of signalling power cables.
“One train was leaving the yard and was about to clear the station when another train was coming from the Kempton Park side and they collided.
“As the first train was changing sides it collided with the other train,” he said.
Matampi attributed the crash squarely to cable theft, adding that the commuter rail service has been under siege, being targeted by thieves.
“The root cause of the collision is cable theft. We really are under siege, and what happened here today is a consequence of cable theft,” he said.
“The other thing that is important to note is that we have lost one person, who has been identified.
“The unfortunate thing is that he was in a train that was not in service. He didn’t even have a ticket, he was in the last coach that was hit,” Matampi said.
He explained that the train the deceased man occupied was clearing the last coach to change over to a different track before the collision with the second train.
Asked whether Metrorail could indicate if the passenger had been hanging from outside the train when the accident occurred, Matampi said that would be subject to investigations.
“The train that was coming off the yard was not in service – the train was not meant to have passengers, so we are investigating how he got access to get into a train that was not in service.
“The other train had passengers from Pretoria. In total, one person is deceased and 102 injured. Five sustained serious injuries and are at various hospitals in Ekurhuleni,” he said.
“Cable theft costs Metrorail hundreds of millions, and it’s not just about replacement of the cables. In Gauteng alone, millions are spent in overtime to pay people to fix these cables,” he said.
“The ripple effect of that is it has an economic impact, these cable thefts, because one train carries about 1 800 people.
“You can multiply that by the number of trips a train makes and the businesses that are affected. It’s an economic crime.”
OFF-TRACK: The scene where two trains collided in Elandsfontein in Ekurhuleni yesterday morning.