Transnet Freight Rail (TF), a subsidiary of state-owned ports and rail company Transnet, confirmed an incident on Monday night. Few details were provided, saying only that recovery efforts were “ongoing” and that no serious injuries were reported.
The collision occurred in Erubana, outside Richards Bay. “Investigations are ongoing to determine the cause of the accident,” TFR said.
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According to News24, citing TFR sources, Sunday’s accident was caused by human error when a shift change failed to alert the line that a stopped train was coming. Due to a power outage at Richard’s Bay, the train was stopped on the route ahead.
TFR still has analog systems to control the movement of rolling stock. It relies on signaling and telephone communications to plan trains and manage their movement, News24 reported.
TFR said in December it would expand coal trains along its northern corridor to ease port congestion that has crippled operations at the port of Richards Bay.
The improved service will include seven coal trains running per week by mid-December, taking the total number of trains per week to 28.
It said: “This translates into a transport volume of approximately 15,400 tonnes per week and 739,200 tonnes per year, equivalent to 452 truck movements per week and 21,747 truck movements per year.”