Police contradict TRC on fatal train accident

26Mar 2020
The Guardian
Police contradict TRC on fatal train accident

​​​​​​​FIVE empty cargo train wagons slid on the railroad without engine driver before plunging into a trolley car with six people, killing five on Sunday, a police probe report shows.

Tanga Regional Police Commander Leons Rwegasira.

This differs with a statement released by the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) on Monday which stated that its senior employees died after a rescue train – not wagons on their own - collided with a trolley.

Acting Tanga Regional Police Commander Leons Rwegasira told reporters here yesterday that there were actually two accidents, one involving freight wagons and the second one involving wagons and the motor trolley.

The first accident involved derailing of wagons transporting cement from Tanga to Ruvu area in Coast Region, which derailed at the same spot as the second accident spot.

Workers TRC responded to the derailing by bringing a rescue train with other wagons to continue with the transportation of the cement cargo, he explained.

They removed the cement from the ill-fated five wagons ready for reloading onto the newly-brought ones as the five derailed ones lied on the ground. They later managed to lift up the wagons and return them   on the railroad, though not continuing with the initial journey, the RPC elaborated.

“It was after the five wagons were returned on rail track that they started sliding on their own without the engine or driver and soon collided with the trolley,” he stated.

Of the five freewheeling wagons, three plunged into the trolley, killing five on the spot and another victim later succumbed to injuries while receiving treatment at Magunga Hospital, the Korogwe district hospital.

However, the acting RPC did not say whether law enforcers were pursuing criminal negligence leads following the accident and the deaths it caused.  

The tragic accident occurred between Mwakinyumbi and Gendagenda stations in Coast region.

A statement issued by the TRC Information and Public Relations officer, Jamila Mbarouk named those who lost their lives in the accident as Ramadhani Gumbo, who is transport manager for Tanga Region, Eng Fabiola Moshi who is the repair manager of passenger coaches for Dar es Salaam Zone, Joseph Komba, assistant transport manager for Dar es Salaam Zone, Philibert Kajuna – an expert on rail safety and George Urio, the driver of the motor trolley.

The worst train accident in TRC history occurred in the early morning of June 24, 2002 at Igandu hill in Dodoma region when a passenger train with over 1,200 people on board rolled backwards downhill into a slow moving goods train, killing 281 people.

It was reported that the driver stopped the train near the summit of the hill, inspected and adjusted the braking system and climbed back into the cab. When the train began moving again it started to roll backwards, accelerating to very high speeds as it rolled straight backwards down the hill, then crashed into a slow moving goods train travelling to Dar es Salaam.