7 December 2012

Namibia: Dune Seven Railway Line Reopened

THE railway line linking Walvis Bay to the rest of the country was reopened on Wednesday night after it was closed on Sunday following a train derailment.

According to TransNamib's acting CEO, Eugenia Tjaronda, the line was opened at 21h30, with train traffic to and from Walvis Bay back to normal since yesterday morning.

On Saturday two locomotives and 17 wagons carrying manganese derailed on the line behind Dune 7. This accident cost TransNamib over N$65 million.

Recovery operations started immediately, but hopes to have the line opened by Tuesday were dashed when another 12-metre section of track was ripped from the railway line in Walvis Bay.

Both breaks were caused by trucks that got stuck while crossing the railway line.

The locomotives and wagons from the Dune 7 accident were transported to Walvis Bay's train yard. Tjaronda said the wagons are "basically a complete write-off".

"The damage to the locomotives is being assessed, but preliminary indications are that the damage was severe. Both may need to be replaced. However, the fact remains that these locos are currently out of circulation, which impacts negatively on capacity and service delivery," she said.

In an attempt to avoid similar incidents in future, Tjaronda said that any third party damaging the line by accident should immediately report the incident to TransNamib. This would ensure that trains could be stopped in time.

"This incident can solely be attributed to the party who damaged the line, and negligently kept quiet about it," she said.

She commended "the unwavering efforts" of the teams responsible for fixing the railway line.

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