ROVOS ACCIDENT FINDINGS

According to an 11 May account in the newspaper Beeld, the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) has released its findings into the 21 April 2010 runaway from Centurion and subsequent derailment on the approach to Pretoria station. Beeld says the 19 coaches, running by themselves, came off the track at 234km/h. Whether or not this figure was incorrectly quoted, expert opinion is that this speed was inconceivable. Andre Kritzinger quotes Wikipedia: “”….the terminal velocity of a skydiver in a belly-to-earth (ie face-down) free-fall position is about 195 km/h.
Roderick Smith, editor of Rail News Victoria (published in Melbourne) says that the 1:66 gradient could have resulted in a speed of 150km/h, not more. The Beeld story says three passengers died in the accident. This is incorrect. One passenger died, and two crew members.
The RSR finds that inadequate steps were taken by Transnet Freight rail personnel to secure the coaches when the electric locos were uncoupled, and that inadequately trained Rovos Rail staff were permitted to handle equipment without the supervision of competent persons. Presumably this refers to the vacuum brake system being released before the steam locomotive arrived. This delay was apparently due to points failure on account of a power problem.

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