Thursday, November 30, 2023

Report recommends BR safeguard lives before profit

The Botswana Railways passenger train accident inquiry report has recommended that BR management must come up with a clear policy/procedure for stoppage of trains during extreme weather conditions, especially at night unless they have effective means of ascertaining the rack conditions. 

Added is that such policy must be approved by the board of management on urgency and submitted to the Minister.

“It would be better to stop trains and lose income for one night rather than to lose human life plus assets and several days of operations,” reads the report.

It is also recommended that BR management must see to it that the hotspot syndrome is shed off and that train crew members and civil engineering personnel do consider every part of the track system as a potential danger area in case of adverse weather conditions. 

Stated is that BR Management should endeavor to always employ the best and correct thermit welding practices through the use of qualified and experienced personnel. Added is that the management must consider the reassessment of newly qualified Enginemen by a competent independent Assessor, as failure to do so may result in accidents. Amongst the contributory factors is the failure by the top BR management to heed professional engineering advice and stop the running of trains as it has been articulated in sub section 2.32. 2.9 

“Mr Brett Ellithorne should be considered for the national recognition for brave and humanitarian service he rendered as he assisted the police and medics to access the pool of water to reach the submerged locomotive. He used his swimming skill and contributed an invaluable role in the process of rescuing both the passengers and the crew members on board train 0501,” reads the report.

According to the report, BR board of management must now consider establishing additional board committee with an immediate effect to deal with technical matter in general and safety at BR in particular. Added is that management must ensure the trainer/instructor assessor should be subjected to routine medical examinations. 

“Acquiring software for the analysis of event recorder data is needful. This would give management an opportunity to monitor the performance of Enginemen as a way of detecting behaviors in train handling before they result into incidents or accidents.


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