The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) dispatched inspectors to the scene of a railway level crossing accident at Buttskop Level Crossing, in the Western Cape where a train collided with a bakkie at 05:46 this morning. The RSR inspectors are currently at the scene to conduct a preliminary investigation and to establish the root cause of the accident.
According to information at the Regulator’s disposal, the incident occurred at dawn and was reported to the RSR at 06:19.
The bakkie was following a taxi on Frederick Road, parallel to the railway track approaching the Buttskop Level Crossing. As the train was approaching the crossing, the taxi drove across and the bakkie followed the taxi, but was unfortunately hit by the train. The level crossing is protected by boom gates and flashing lights.
At this point, seven people have been confirmed dead at the scene. The Railway Safety Regulator extends its heartfelt condolences to the affected families.
The RSR further appeals to the public and all road and rail users to always take safety precautions, follow the road rules and signage, be vigilant at all times when approaching a railway level crossing and always make use of designated level crossings and road-over-rail bridges.
“It is very sad and extremely concerning that this level crossing has yet again claimed the lives of road users. We need to re-double our efforts on our collaborations in enforcing the rail-road interface rules to ensure the safety of our people. One life lost is one life too many,” said the RSR Acting CEO, Ms Tshepo Kgare.
The RSR, pursuant to its mandate, has in collaboration with the railway industry and the South African Bureau of Standards developed the Level Crossing Standard SANS 3000 -2 -1, published in September 2012. The Level Crossing Standard was incorporated and adopted into the National Road Traffic Act of 1996 which was approved in November 2013. This Act has made a provision for road authorities and municipalities to enforce and ensure safety compliance at the road–rail interface.
The RSR continuously conducts information sessions nationally with all operators on its standards to ensure a common and consistent approach to railway safety in areas including safety management, technical and operational requirements as well as human factor management. The RSR also conducts public awareness campaigns nationally; educates the public about the dangers of not adhering to the rules of the road when at a level crossings. The success of safety campaigns requires the participation and co-operation of all stakeholders, including the public.