Sikhulekelani Moyo, Business Reporter
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has recorded four railroad accidents since the beginning of March 2023 and has expressed concern over the high frequency of such incidents.
Of the four, one was fatal after a man was run over by a train in Mutare in a suspected case of suicide last week.
NRZ said the unidentified man was walking on the railway track in the Chikanga area and ignored the approaching train’s repeated warning whistle and was hit and died on the spot.
“NRZ is concerned with the escalating cases of accidents at railroad level crossings. Since the beginning of March, four separate accidents have been reported,” said NRZ in the latest update posted on its social media platform.
“In the first incident on 2 March, a locomotive hit a Honda Fit at the Mtapa level crossing in Gweru after the driver ignored an on-coming train. On 3 March, a Toyota Vitz did not give precedence to a train at the Zimasco level crossing in Mbizo, Kwekwe resulting in a collision.
“A truck was hit by an on-coming train at a level crossing in the Somabhula area on 4 March. That same day another motorist failed to stop at the Norton level crossing and rammed into a passing train resulting in extensive damages to the vehicle.”
NRZ has appealed to the motoring public to approach railroad level crossings with caution and check if there is a train approaching to prevent similar accidents from happening.
Official records indicate that from 2019 to 2021, the country had 47 suspected suicide deaths while from January to August last year there were 38 suspected suicide deaths, a figure that was described as very disturbing by NRZ.
The increase in the number of accidents involving trains at level crossings prompted railway companies in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) through the Southern African Railway Association (Sara) to set aside a week in October every year for public awareness campaigns on railway safety to curb accidents and fatalities.
The railway safety week is also meant to ensure that the region has joint advocacy for railway safety practices, which conform to the Sadc/Sara railway safety standards.