Damaged Railway Lines Restored

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Railway lines recently washed away by water from a raging stream resulting in the derailment of two TransNamib locomotives over the weekend are being repaired and train transportation halted on this specific route could resume by midday today. Since the incident on Sunday at around 23h53 between Karibib and Kranzberg, exactly some 20 kilometres from Karibib, engineers were rushed to the scene to remedy the disruption. Two diesel locomotives operated by TransNamib and six wagons filled with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and a consignment of hundreds of cement bags were derailed because floods washed away a section of the railway line. The incident not only caused damage to rail lines but it also damaged the bridge on which one of the locomotives was derailed. The affected diesel engines were towing wagons laden with 880 bags of cement and 43 000 litres of LPG. The goods were reportedly destined for Tsumeb at the time of the incident. According to the Transnamib’s Train Operations Manager Ras Esterhuyse, the incident has negatively affected the operations of major fuel suppliers. Twelve trains that were supposed to travel in three days between Windhoek and Walvis Bay were affected. The goods were en route to Tsumeb, but another two wagons were diverted to the northern town in order to cater for the loss, explained Esterhuyse. The gas leakage initially reported in press statement has since been contained. Afrox, the company that owns the gas consignment was also dispatched to the scene yesterday in order to “decant” or empty out the wagons that contain the LPG. This was done to make the 60 tonne wagons a bit lighter to be carted away. Esterhuyse said that while the rear portion of the derailed train had already been removed for repairs yesterday morning, the other is still standing at Kranzberg. Speaking from the site, Train Operations Inspector Gideon Eiseb said the removal of the wagons were done in the presence of the fire brigade services, in case there was a explosion at the accident site. By yesterday, the two locomotives were removed by the over 100 workers. Attempts are being made to remove the wagons too. Eiseb explained that passengers intending to use this route were taken by bus to their various destinations, while the bulk transportation of the goods was shelved for the past two days. He was however confident that with round-the-clock work by his team, the rail line operations are expected to return to normal by midday today. No injuries were reported as result of the recent derailment.