The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) has concluded its preliminary investigation into the collision between two Metrorail trains on 4 September at the Booysens station in Johannesburg. One train was en route from Faraday to Naledi Station, while the other train was from Booysens Station destined for George Goch Station. Both trains were carrying passengers.
The preliminary findings indicate that:
- The Train Control Officer (TCO) issued manual authorisation to the train headed to Naledi at 06h54 to pass and proceed to Crown Station. After a couple of minutes, the TCO authorised another train onto the same line.
- The TCO gave the latter authorisation without having first checked whether the line was clear. When interviewed, the TCO indicated that he based the authorisation on the assumption that the section would have been cleared by then. This led to the collision of the two trains at the diamond crossing, outside the Booysens Station.
- There was no supervision of TCO’s at the signal cabin at the time of the incident.
The Regulator has in the past instructed PRASA to provide sufficient supervision to TCO’s and to provide proper control and approval of manual authorisation. Accidents like these suggest that PRASA is in contravention of its own standard operating procedures as well as the instruction of the Regulator. The RSR, therefore, call on PRASA to expedite the process of appointing Section Managers to enforce countersigning at CTCs as a matter of urgency in line with the special conditions of their permit.
A total number of 112 passengers as well as the crew of both trains sustained injuries. No fatalities were reported. Substance abuse tests were conducted on both crews prior to the incident and post the incident and the results were negative.
The RSR will continue its investigation in order to establish the contributing factors and the root cause of the collision.