The derailed train with the locomotive on its side, right. Picture by Peter Odell

One of South Africa’s new Afro 4000 diesels was involved in a crash near Kimberley yesterday when it was hauling the 16-coach Shosholoza Meyl Johannesburg-Cape Town passenger train.

The train tipped over 20 miles south of Kimberley, near Modderrivier, when engineering work was being carried out on the track.

The train was said to be travelling at normal speed despite a 20 mph temporary speed limit while a bridge over the Modderrivier was being rebuilt. The locomotive and the first five coaches overturned about half a mile from the bridge.

Shosholoza Meyl spokesman Mthuthuzeli Swarts told the Independent on Line that repair work on the line and lack of communication seems to have contributed towards the accident.

“It is never wise to say anything before the investigation has been concluded, but a preliminary probe has revealed that work was being done on the railway line.”

Mr Swarts said 60 people were taken to hospital for observation and shock although SABC said 12 people were hurt. Co-driver Fazel Boer, 32, was reported to be being treated for serious injuries after being trapped under the wreckage. The passengers were taken to Cape Town by bus.

The inquiry into the crash will involve the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Transnet and the Rail Safety Regulator.

Independent Online

Afro diesels