10/01/2018 06:12 SAST | Updated 10/01/2018 06:28 SAST

Transport Minister Says Rail Modernisation Is Being Fastracked Following Second Crash

At least 200 people were injured when two trains collided in Germiston.

Metro Train in inner-city Johannesburg.
Hoberman Collection via Getty Images
Metro Train in inner-city Johannesburg.

Transport minister Joe Maswanganyi says the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has been directed to speed up the modernisation of its rail services, following another train crash in Germiston on Tuesday, News24 reported.

Two trains collided on Tuesday morning injuring more than 200 people. According to Eyewitness News, a preliminary investigation by Metrorail found human error could have been the cause of the accident in which a train rear-ended another train at the Geldenuis station. There were no fatalities and no people were trapped inside the carriages. Both trains were on their way to Springs.

A spokesperson for Metrorail, Lillian Mofokeng, reportedly said that the trains were being manually directed owing to problems with the signal cables. One of the trains was manually cleared to enter the platform but failed shortly afterwards and was stationary on the platform. Another train was then manually authorised to enter the same platform.

This follows the death of 19 people in a train crash in the Free State, leaving hundreds more injured. A train collided with a truck attempting to cross a railway crossing.

According to News24, Maswanganyi said R5.6-billion was set aside for signalling modernisation from 2015 to 2018, "as we know our rail network has been previously characterised by years of disinvestment by the apartheid regime". He reportedly added that cable theft was one of the biggest problems plaguing Metrorail.

Mofokeng encouraged commuters to keep using trains. She said: "We want to assure the public out there that rail is still the safest mode of transport."

Social media users called for answers from Prasa.