Mnangagwa’s new NRZ trains collide near Bannockburn, One dead

One person is reported to have died following two National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) trains were involved in a head-on collision Near Bannockburn, Oreti siding on the company’s southeast line from Rutenga.

One train loaded with fuel was coming from Rutenga while the other empty ballast train was heading back to Rutenga. It is said the empty ballast train developed technical problems and stopped on the mainline. It is unclear at the moment if the crew from the ballast train made any attempts to communicate their problem and warn other trains that they have stopped on the mainline.

The other train was being pulled by two leased locomotives from Transnet which were brought in through the recent NRZ recapitalization program.

NRZ has been facing major safety issues for two decades now. The company has failed dismally to address safety concerns that its employees have to face on a daily basis.

NRZ was targeted with huge vandalism in the turn of the century which saw its train communication system stolen across its entire network. The Centralized-Train-Control or CTC system was a key safety feature which allowed trains to move on the same railway line controlled by signals, something similar to traffic light controlled intersections.

Furthermore, the company saw its overhead electric system stolen between Dabuka and Harare. This section was operated by 30 electric locomotives which were the most powerful locomotives available then, with the capability of moving more tonnage. Once a marvel, now these EL type locomotives lay as empty shells decommissioned in their prime.

NRZ is notorious for cover ups which involve accidents of this nature. Many lives have been lost due to the company’s gross negligence which emanates from the government level all the way down to management.

When the massive scale theft of key infrastructure began, all accidents that occurred then were blamed on that. Two major accidents come to mind, the Dete 2003 and Dibangombe 2006 head-ons which both involved passenger trains with many fatalities, with officials claiming few lives lost.

NRZ continued to operate with more accidents occurring with no media reports and everything being a closely guarded secret. Family heads have been lost from accidents due to gross negligence in locations such as Mukwakwe and Ngungubane on the same line as the recent accident.

Others have occurred in locations such as Somerbay, Siphasiphasi, Machipanda, Tsungwesi, and a more recent one Melfort were 4 employees died and three locomotives destroyed beyond repair. Due to lack of reporting many more accidents have occurred and lives lost.

Who stole the key infrastructure? Many company employees all point to camouflage wearing men in broad day taking down wires between Dabuka and Gweru. Police reports lodged and no action taken.

Big names in politics also came up such as the current vice president Kembo Mohadi and then minister of transport Obert Mpofu. It is said they spear headed the operation and using their trucks to ferry the loot of wires to neighboring South Africa.

It is understood that, the recent recaptilisation program will see more employess retrenched with Transnet bringing in its own work force.

When asked to comment on the collision and death, local police refused to give any details as they were not authorised to speak with reporters.

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Source: AfricaMetro

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