THE cause of an accident involving two trains near the Kalafong railway station in Pretoria on Thursday (31/01/2013) morning is not known‚ the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) said.
A Metrorail train driver was critically injured when a passenger train rammed into the back of another‚ stationary train on the railway line between Cor Delfos and Saulsville.
"The cause of the accident is not known at this moment. However‚ we can confirm we experienced cable theft in the early hours of this morning. As a result the automated signal was off. The trains were operated manually‚” Prasa rail operations CEO Mosenngwa Mofi said.
"We have prioritised giving care to the commuters and employees who were on both trains ... and we would like to wish them a speedy recovery‚” he said.
Mr Mofi said technicians were repairing the damage. One line would be operating for the afternoon peak.
A board of inquiry would be instituted to investigate the cause of the crash‚ which caused about R22m in damage to infrastructure and rolling stock. Among other things damaged were the power lines on top of the trains.
The critically injured driver was airlifted to a nearby hospital‚ Tshwane emergency services spokesman Johan Pieterse said. Twenty people were seriously injured in the crash around 7am‚ and 150 were "walking injured”.
Earlier‚ Mr Pieterse said the railway line between Cor Delfos and Saulsville was completely closed because of the accident.
Transport Minister Ben Martins visited the scene. He and an entourage‚ which included provincial transport officials‚ walked on the railway lines towards the wreckage of the trains.
On Thursday‚ the railway service from Pretoria to Saulsville was stopping at Electro station‚ with a shuttle bus service to and from Saulsville station. - Sapa