The Railway Safety Regulator today briefed members of the media on the outcomes of a Board of Inquiry investigation into the Mzimhlophe incident.
On Thursday 19 May 2011 a train from Johannesburg to Naledi collided against the rear end of a stationary train. The collision happened between Mzimhlophe and Phomolong stations, both trains belonged to Prasa-Metrorail. This resulted in 857 commuters being injured, who were later discharged from hospital. No fatalities were registered, however both trains were damaged.
The RSR then instituted a Board of Inquiry (BOI) to thoroughly investigate the incident and establish the root causes of the incident. The investigation commenced on 19 May and was concluded on 31 March 2012. The BOI findings reveal that:
Driver Behaviour- The driver of the train that collided with a stationery one is prone to substandard acts. He exceeded the speed limit and passed 2 danger point signals.
His risk profile indicates a prevalence of speeding incidents twice in 2009 and once in 2011. He was appointed in August 2003 and has had 7 disciplinary actions of which 6 were in the last 22 months, 3 of which were for speeding.
Compliance to Procedures- The driver of the stationery train did not report the failure of the train to the Train Control Officer (TCO) but opted to phoning another driver and technical control. The act of not reporting directly to the TCO when normal train operations are interrupted is a substandard act. Should the correct procedure have been followed, the TCO may have had the opportunity to inform the driver of the on-following train of the circumstances which may have averted the incident, thus preventing 857 commuters from getting injured and damage to rolling stock that costs millions of rands to repair.
The RSR has thus given the operator (Metrorail) a comprehensive BOI Report together with recommendations on how to improve their risk profile.