HomeEditorial CommentTrain derailments cause for concern

Train derailments cause for concern


NATIONAL Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) board chairperson Alvord Mabena made a very honest admission on Sunday that the parastatal’s passenger trains are no longer safe for travellers.

Mabena was speaking at Heany Junction, scene of the third train derailment in the past few months after two similar accidents on the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls route.

There have been no reported deaths in the three accidents, but the frequency is becoming a serious cause for concern.

Mabena noted that as summer kicks in the tracks will be expanding due to heat and that would spell trouble for the NRZ, which is already facing a myriad of other problems.

On Sunday night the passenger train travelling from Bulawayo to Harare and carrying 120 people derailed at Heavy Junction, injuring 22 people.

Although investigations are underway, the NRZ management indicated their initial suspicion was that the rail tracks were to blame for the derailment.

Last month, members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development were told that the 470km rail track between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls was now a death trap.

NRZ said the track needed a complete overhaul to the tune of $50 million as rampant vandalism was negatively affecting operations.
The derailments though not fatal have also had a negative effect on the tourism industry.

A tourist died and 20 others were injured last month when a Victoria Falls Steam Train Company tram collided with an NRZ goods train.

The tourists were attending the wedding of Australian millionaire Peter Holmes à Court and American photographer Alissa Everett.

Mabena’s suggestion to halt passenger train services until the track problems are attended to is very plausible.

The amount of investment needed to refurbish the tracks would not be raised over night and it is not wise for the NRZ to continue risking passengers’ lives through the use of unreliable railways tracks.

The government should also prioritise the revival of the NRZ because of its strategic nature.

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading