Manual signalling on trains banned by regulator

Paramedics say approximately 200 people sustained minor to moderate injuries in a train crash that occurred in Germiston on Tuesday morning.
Paramedics say approximately 200 people sustained minor to moderate injuries in a train crash that occurred in Germiston on Tuesday morning.
Image: ER24

The Germiston train crash on Tuesday has prompted the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) to issue the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) with a prohibition directive‚ stopping it from manually authorising trains‚ under threat of criminal penalties.

The prohibition applies with immediate effect and will be in force nationally.

An incoming train rear-ended a stationary one at Germiston‚ leaving approximately 200 people with minor to moderate injuries. Metrorail said they were using manual signals because of cable theft.

The regulator said on Wednesday that Prasa is "prohibited from manually authorising trains until such a time that normal train services are restored or until such a time when Prasa Rail can provide the RSR with a comprehensive and convincing action plan for all affected areas in all the provinces where Metrorail trains operate".

The Railway Safety Regulator said in a statement on Wednesday that its action followed a train collision on 19 June 2017‚ at Elandsfontein‚ when it issued Prasa Rail with a prohibition directive. "Prasa Rail was subsequently instructed to cease operating trains in the Prasa Gauteng Region under abnormal working conditions.

"In response to the directive‚ Prasa Rail issued correspondence to the RSR undertaking to ensure safe train operations during degraded conditions.

"However‚ on the morning of 9 January‚ two Metrorail trains were involved in a rear-end collision at the Geldenhuys station.

"This accident convinced the RSR that Prasa Rail does not have the means to prevent accidents from happening during degraded mode when manual authorisations are undertaken."

Failure to comply with the directive will result in criminal charges and/or a penalty being imposed.

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