By Bulawayo Correspondent
TWO National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) employees died Thursday night while seven others were injured when a goods train travelling from Hwange to Bulawayo derailed at Redbank Siding, about 40 kilometres from Bulawayo.
NRZ public relations manager Nyasha Maravanyika confirmed the accident, adding that it happened at a railway level crossing.
He said the freight train had just picked a passenger wagon carrying the company’s workers who had been carrying out maintenance work at a sawmill siding when the incident occurred.
“I can confirm that an NRZ freight train derailed on Wednesday at 12:10 am and killed two NRZ employees as well as injuring seven other employees,” said Maravanyika.
“The derailment was caused by rain-washed sand which covered the rail train level crossing. The sand then blocked the level crossing leading to the fatal accident.”
Maravanyika said it was unusual for a freight train to be involved in accident that kills people.
“Usually, when we experience derailments, there are no deaths. Derailments are normally associated with injuries and property damages. This one is unique,” he said.
The NRZ spokesperson attributed the accident to the activities of locals who grow crops near rail tracks especially during the rainy season.
“Once again, we are appealing to communities not to cultivate along rail tracks. Cultivation along the track loosens the soil and once we have heavy rains like what is happening, the soils are washed away and they block drainage,” said Maravanyika.