Two Locomotives Derail Due to Rains

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Two diesel locomotives operated by TransNamib and six wagons filled with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and a consignment of cement derailed Sunday evening because a section of the railway line was recently washed away by heavy rains. The derailment occurred on Sunday at around 23h53 between Karibib and Kranzberg. The affected locomotives were towing wagons laden with 880 bags of cement and 43 000 litres of LPG. The goods were reportedly destined for Kranzberg when the incident occurred. A press statement issued yesterday by the company’s public relations department said one of the “locomotives 33-503 and all six wagons were lying on their sides whilst one bogie of locomotive 33-507 derailed”. According to the statement the gas tank wagons after initially leaking had been contained by engineering experts who rushed to the scene. The statement further reads that the Fire Brigade in Windhoek would only be sent to the scene of the accident if there is a fire, since there are no fire brigade facilities at the nearest towns of Usakos and Karibib. However the Chief Public Relations Officer at TransNamib Olivia Kanyemba-Usiku confirmed there was no fire as a result of the derailment and neither did the LPG gas that had leaked earlier been of any detriment to the environment or humans. LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) is used to a limited extent for lighting and cooking in off-grid areas, but is also used for refrigeration and freezing in clinics – hospitals, schools and a range of commercial applications like refrigeration for butcheries, hotels and bars to mention but a few. The latest derailment of the two locomotives and six wagons happened just a month after two cargo trains collided near Okahandja. New Era was reliably informed that the investigation into the previous collision was already finalised on the 23rd of last month, pending disciplinary hearings against the suspended train driver Ben Tembo and his assistant Frans Claasen. This previous incident occurred when the train from Otjiwarongo crashed into a stationary locomotive from Windhoek near Waldau, some 22 kilometres from the town of Okahandja at around 02h00. Previous reports have it that the two Transnamib officials were suspended “as a precautionary measure” while investigations were ongoing. Further information about the actual cause and finalisation of the investigation could not be provided to the media, pending the disciplinary hearings and it was considered as an “internal matter”.