THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is yet to resume the Bulawayo-Harare passenger train service over a month after coaches were badly damaged by a derailment at Heany Junction.
Scores of passengers were injured when the train from Bulawayo to Harare derailed on August 24. NRZ spokesperson Fanuel Masikati said the company’s artisans were working on repairing the damaged coaches to ensure that they could be used safely for carrying passengers.
“We are repairing the eight coaches that were damaged after the derailment last month and we want to make sure that they are in good condition before we resume services,” he said.
“Currently we have the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls and Harare-Mutare passenger trains operating. “The Bulawayo-Beitbridge railway line is currently not running due to some problems between Esigodini and Mbalabala, but work is being done to resume that service.”
Twenty two passengers escaped death by a whisker when the Harare-bound train derailed at Heany Junction about 30km east of Bulawayo.
NRZ board chairperson Alvord Mabena said the railway tracks were totally unreliable and it was risky to travel by train as some of the infrastructure was now obsolete.
Mabena said most of the NRZ infrastructure could not be repaired anymore adding that had it been his private business, he was going to stop the passenger trains because they were not safe for people.
Signals are no longer in use and the company has resorted to the use of mobile phones resulting in some of the accidents.