Tag Archives: South Africa

Hoachanas, South Africa: Intoxication said to be cause of crossing fatality

5 Nov

A man was killed when he was hit by a train at a level crossing near Hoachanas, Kalkrand District at about 03.10am on November 1st, 2015. While the train driver observed a man sitting in the path of his train he was unable to bring the train to a stand before reaching the man. Media reports say that the man who was killed was intoxicated. An investigation is on-going.

Stellenbosch, South Africa: Eight level crossings eliminated

3 Aug

Eight level crossings have been closed in Stellenbosch on safety grounds. The closures have been funded from a ZAR70.7 million level crossing closure programme. These works are a joint Passenger Rail Agency and the Western Cape project. the works comprise a new road-over rail bridge on Vlaeberg Road and a new link road between Vlaeberg and Vlottenberg. Alsotwo new private underpasses provide farmers grade-separated access to their land. Additionally, a pedestrian footbridge has been constructed at Lynedoch station.

Cape Town, South Africa: Appeal opens way to survivors’ claims against railway

22 Sep

Two women who were injured in the collision between a train and a truck that claimed the lives of 19 farm works on November 13th, 2006 have won an appeal that opens the way for them to win compensation. The Supreme Court has ruled that as the accident was reasonably foreseeable and as the railways had not instituted appropriate controls damages can be claimed against Metrorail and the South African Rail Commuter Corporation.

The circumstances of the collision were the truck stalling on the Croydon level crossing and as a result being hit by a train travelling at the line speed of 90kph The appeal succeeded on the grounds that it would have been reasonable to have imposed a educed speed limit to improve sighting and hence the opportunity for the impact of the collision to have been avoided or reduced. The judgement referenced a train speed of 40kph would have avoided the collision occurring.

In so far as South Africa is concerned this judgment creates a precedent that has significant implications.

Rustenburg, South Africa: Three children killed in crossing collision

22 Mar

North West Premier Thandi Modise has spoken out following the death of three children following a collision on a level crossing in Rustenburg. The children were among a group of 12 children travelling from Zinniaville to Rustenburg Noord on March 20th, 2014.

The Premier issued a prepared statement which said “Drivers who ignore rules of the road and warnings not to beat trains at level crossings are still putting lives of passengers at risk.”

A police source has said that there were witnesses to the level crossing collision who said that the vehicle in which the children were travelling had overtaken a line of traffic already stopped at the level crossing and entered the crossing as the train arrived. Other reports say that the vehicle then became stuck on the crossing before it was hit by the train.

The premier called for the police to clamp down on reckless driving, overloading, and illegal scholar transportation. She also urged parents to ensure that their children were transported in properly licensed vehicles and to ensure that they travelled in vehicles that were not over-loaded.

The Police is investigating whether a case of culpable homicide can be made and why the vehicle was illegally carrying the school children. In any event, the police has made clear that the driver would face an additional charge of reckless and negligent driving. The police has also launched an investigation of overloading the vehicle and contravening the National Road Traffic Act.

Ilfracombe, South Africa: Driver on cellphone when minibus struck by train

30 Nov

A witness has said that the driver of a minibus which was struck by a train on a passive level crossing in Ilfracombe, KwaZulu-Natal was on his cellphone at the time of the accident. The collision which occurred at about 19.30 on November 27th, 2013 saw the minibus pushed clear of the railway after it had entered the level crossing without stopping as required by the signage protecting the level crossing. Also, a crossing attendant was deployed to wave a red flag when trains were approaching the level crossing. It is not known whether or not the red flag was being waved when the driver of the minibus entered the level crossing.

Fortunately the collision occurred when the train was travelling at low-speed as it had first stopped at a nearby station. Those travelling on the minibus were treated for minor injuries.

Pretoria, South Africa: Truck driver guilty on 24 counts of culpable homicide

14 Nov

A truck driver who admitted driving negligently and in so doing causing the death of 24 farmworkers when the truck he was driving was hit by a train on a level crossing has been found guilty of multiple counts of culpable homicide. The prosecution accepted the guilty plea and dropped the more serious murder charges facing the truck driver in respect of the collision that occurred on July 13th, 2012. The trial has been adjourned until February 2014 when sentencing will take place.

Cape Town, South Africa: Train strikes truck on active crossing

14 Nov

A truck driver escaped with minor injuries when the vehicle he was driving was struck by a train on an active level crossing near Cape Town. The collision occurred at about 06.15 on November 13th, 2013 on a level crossing in Eerste River. The collision disrupted train services for an extended period.