31 May 2014

Mozambique: Traffic Back to Normal On Sena Line

Maputo — Rail traffic along the Sena line, linking the Moatize coal basin to the central Mozambican port of Beira, returned to normal as from 18.00 on Friday, when the work to clear the line following a serious derailment concluded.

The derailment occurred on Tuesday and involved a train of the Brazilian mining company Vale, which was carrying 2,386 tonnes of coal for export. 32 of the 42 wagons came off the rails and completely blocked the line at Chafundira, in Mutarara district in the western province of Tete, 390 kilometres from Beira.

According to a report in Saturday's issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the work to clear the line was personally directed by Elias Xai-Xai, director of the Sena Line Reconstruction Brigade, of the publicly owned ports and rail company, CFM.

More than 60 CFM workers were involved in removing the fallen coal wagons and restoring the line to working order. They worked uninterruptedly for three days and nights, using a large crane and other heavy machinery.

The cause of the derailment is not yet known. An inquiry has been set up, but Xai-Xai said it was too early to say when its work would be completed. The inquiry team includes staff from both CFM and Vale.

Railway sources suggested to reporters that the most likely causes of the accident would be excessive speed, and poor use of the brakes by an inexperienced driver.

Two members of the train's crew were injured in the derailment. 26 wagons were wrecked beyond repair, 1,638 tonnes of coal have been lost, and 150 metres of track was damaged and had to be replaced. No figure has yet been put on the cost of this damage.

With the 575 kilometre long line operational again, once more an average of 21 trains a day are using it - these are trains from the three coal mining companies, Vale, Rio Tinto and Jindal, and from CFM itself.

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