As the fortunes of South Africa’s national train line PRASA continue to sink, its upmarket Premier Classe train running between Cape Town and Johannesburg hit a stationary goods train in Roodepoort yesterday and one person died.
The train – part of the mainline service of Passenger Railways of South Africa’s Premier Classe, which is often seen as a cheaper version of the Blue Train – left Cape Town on Tuesday with 36 passengers, 5 of whom disembarked at Kimberley, according to a statement released by Premier Classe early today. There were also 14 staff members on board.
The train collided with a stationary goods train outside Roodepoort before reaching Horizon station in Johannesburg. According to several posts on Twitter, besides the one fatality, there was one person critically injured.
A developing story …
— Letona (@MrManganye) February 12, 2020
“Preliminary reports regarding injuries are that approximately 4 passengers have been injured and taken to Krugersdorp hospital. One passenger was airlifted to Milpark Hospital and one unfortunate fatality.”
Premier Classe was one small ray of hope for the Passenger Railways of South Africa, a once world-class railway network that has been bankrupted by corruption, major theft of infrastructure, poor management and dubious contracts. Despite efforts to clean up PRASA, and the recent appointment of an administrator to see its overhaul, the bad news keeps coming.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng called on PRASA to put more stringent measures in place to prevent accidents. “Prasa has been experiencing numerous incidents including train accidents, cable theft, vandalism and the burning of trains,” the DA said in a statement.
“This (train crash today) is one of many incidents which highlights the need for our commuters to be given a safe, reliable and affordable public transport system.”