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Probe underway into train derailment

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Investigations continue to establish what caused the derailment of a locomotive, which had 19 wagons, at Matindi in Blantyre at the weekend, operator Nacala Logistics has said.

Early reports had indicated that the newly launched Dash 9 derailed at the site, but officials from Nacala Logistics say it was one of the old locomotives that derailed.

“Investigations are still ongoing to find what caused the derailment but it is worth stating that we are facing a lot of vandalism along that section,” said Nacala Logistics spokesperson Wezi Kalua.

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Nacala Logistics has, of late, complained about the theft of Pandrol clips which keep locomotives in tracks.

According to officials, the company reports theft of at least 250 clippers per day on railways.

Each clip costs the company about $12 to replace.

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But the derailment of the locomotive and wagons comes at a time reports indicate that the railway was not yet inspected and certified by the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, having undergone upgrading works recently.

The Railways Act provides for an appointed engineer to inspect and certify upgrading of railway infrastructure before use.

But Kalua could not be drawn to comment on whether an appointed engineer had inspected and certified the works on the railway line.

“With investigations still ongoing, I cannot comment any further on the matter,” Kalua said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Transport and Public works Nancy Chaola Mdooko has said the ministry is yet to receive a report of the accident.

“At the moment, a team of our engineers is jointly investigating the accident occurrence with engineers from Central East African Railway and, upon submission of their report, we will be able to issue a proper statement,” Chaola Mdooko says.

Malawi has had its fair share of train accidents and derailments in recent years.

In February 2017, about 240,000 litres of diesel spilt off after a train derailed in Blantyre.

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