The DA is calling on the Rail Safety Regulator to conduct a comprehensive audit on the Gauteng PRASA (Metrorail) signalling systems. This follows yesterday’s head-to-tail collision between two Metrorail passenger trains at Geldenhuis station in Germiston.
In the past, PRASA has placed the blame for train accidents on driver error while not considering the possible deficiencies in its signalling systems.
In most cases train drivers are adhering to the rail signalling system that instructs them when to stop, proceed, accelerate, slow down or change rails. Yesterday’s accident came after the signalling system was controlled manually and instructed the driver of the first train to remain stationery.
The DA has reliably learnt that automated signals are quite often out of order and that staff operating manual signals are often absent or not in control of their responsibilities.
The Rail Safety Regulator must investigate the following:
(i) To what extent are automated signalling systems prevalent on the Gauteng rail network?
(ii) To what extent are these systems operational?
(iii) Why are automated systems not functioning properly?
(iv) Why is it necessary to use manual rail signals?
(v) To what extent are staff qualified to operate manual signals?
Rail is an important mode of transport in our province which makes its safe operation crucial. It is therefore important that the Rail Safety Regulator executes its mandate responsibly and proactively to prevent future rail accidents.