New Era (Windhoek)

3 December 2012

Namibia: Transnamib Freight Train Derails

Walvis Bay — A train belonging to TransNamib derailed early Saturday morning nearly causing a collision with a passenger train.

However, mines and freight transporters are not worried that the accident will cause disruptions in the supply of goods to and from the port, and TransNamib has promised to have the railway repaired and open for freight by tomorrow.

The derailed train was carrying tonnes of manganese from Okahandja to Walvis Bay for shipment. The accident took place about 20 kilometres outside the port, in the vicinity of the popular tourism attraction of Dune 7, the highest dune in the coastal dune belt.

When New Era arrived at the scene the serene natural surroundings of the coastal dunes of the Namib Desert were looking very disturbed by the wreckage of the locomotive on its side with mangled wagons and containers scattered about.

Eyewitnesses said the derailment nearly caused a collision with a passenger train that was following the freight train.

Luckily the warning was sent out on time for the passenger train driver to bring the train to a complete stop. The train driver managed to bring the passenger train to a standstill about 3 kilometres from the derailed train. The passengers were transported to Walvis Bay on buses.

Rössing Uranium mine, one of the mines relying heavily on TransNamib for the transportation of uranium and other chemicals, yesterday said a team had been dispatched to the scene to establish the nature of the accident and the effect it would have on the mine's operations.

"TransNamib assured us that the railway line will be up and running by Tuesday as they are currently working non-stop to repair the damage to the railway line. We have everything currently under control but will monitor the situation for any change," said Rössing Corporate Communications Superintendent, Alwyn Lubbe.

Police Crime Investigation Co-ordinator for the Erongo Region, Ottillie Kashuupulwa, yesterday said the police are still investigating the accident. "We have some leads but it is too early to make any conclusions as to what might have caused the accident. We are just thankful that the passenger train was stopped on time and that no one was injured at all," Kashupuulwa said.

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