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Expert claims BR could have acted negligently

Field Service Engineer progress rail Motimedi Ngati responding to questions from the BR board of enquiry in Mahlapye PIC: KOKETSO KGOBOGE
MAHALAPYE:  A public inquiry into a train accident that claimed two lives last year has been told that Botswana Railways (BR) could have acted negligently.

This is the view of first witness, Motimedi Ngati, a field service engineer at Progress Rail/EMD that supplied the locomotives to the rail line operator.

Progress Rail/EMD is an Indianapolis headquartered locomotives manufacturing company with an engine plant in Chicago and with regional offices in Pretoria. 

They are the manufacturers of the BR’s BD 2 locomotives. The Ministry of Transport and Communications has on Monday started the enquiry on circumstances surrounding the BR train accident that claimed two lives in 2019. 

The two-week public enquiry held at Cresta Hotel in Mahalapye is expected to conclude on January 24. 

Leading his evidence, Ngati said, from the manufacturer’s point of view, the BD 500 series; a kind that caused

the accident was not designed to haul passenger coaches.

“Usually before Botswana Railways could take a decision out of the ordinary, they would send notification through an email,” he said, noting in this instance they did not.

From the event recorder in the locomotive, the witness said there was nothing out of the ordinary with the locomotive from its departure in Lobatse until seconds from the accident.

The train derailed at around 2am December 9, near Pallaroad. Heavy waters following heavy downpours in the area were fingered as the cause of the accident.

The Ministry has set up an eight-man investigative board made of engineers and former BR employees to gather evidence. The inquiry continues.




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