NRZ Concerned With The Increase In Rail/Road Level Crossing Accidents And Suicidal Cases

The National Railways of Zimbabwe regrets to advise that six (6) people were injured when a Nissan Caravan motor vehicle rammed onto a passenger train which was travelling from Chinhoyi to Harare at 0945 hours on Tuesday 24 March 2015 at Banket level crossing.  The injured people were ferried to Banket Hospital where they were treated and discharged.

We have observed with concern, the disturbing and increasing incidences of rail/road level crossing accidents, as well as suicidal cases along the railway system countrywide in recent weeks and months.  It is saddening to note that the accidents continue to occur at rail/road level crossings and undesignated rail level crossings, despite the fact that all drivers of both light and heavy vehicles are aware of the need to exercise extreme caution, whenever they are approaching rail/road level crossings, throughout the country.

It is worrying and highly disturbing that we continue to lose precious human lives almost every month, in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Kwekwe and Masvingo, among other cities and towns in the country.  The increase in the number of rail level crossing accidents continues to evoke sad and heart rending memories of tragic accidents that happened in the past at level crossings such as Kirkman Road in Harare, where 34 people died in an accident which occurred when a commuter omnibus rammed onto a goods train that was travelling from Harare to Bindura, on 6 March 2007.  The sad loss of precious and irreplaceable human lives at rail/road level crossings, should remind all of us in general, motorists and public transport drivers, in particular, of our obligations to the protection of life and limb.

Rail Transformation Underway

The NRZ is implementing an action programme that will alter the way Zimbabwe’s Railways do business, and prepare the organisation to face today’s challenges.  It is pertinent to mention that the National Railways of Zimbabwe is a vital link for all sectors of the economy, as it serves the nation through its extensive rail network, stretching over 2 760 route kilometers of 1 067mm gauge track and is a bulk carrier of both freight and passengers.
It is in the same vein that far-reaching changes are envisaged and tomorrow’s railways will focus more than ever before on meeting the demands and growing expectations of its customers.  This is the essential element in a common vision shared by the NRZ Board, management, employees as well as its shareholder, the Government.  A well run Railways will be efficient, extremely safe and kind to the environment.
Through various initiatives, the NRZ is working towards the refurbishment of some locomotives, wagons, tankers and passenger coaches to boost its current capacity.  The refurbishment and repair of locomotives and wagons is aimed at increasing NRZ’s fleet and enhance NRZ’s operational capacity.  The NRZ is also strengthening wagon management structures at terminals, to facilitate effective and efficient utilization of the available wagon fleet and has also approached neighbouring Railway organisations to expeditiously offload and return empty wagons, so as to achieve quick turnaround of NRZ wagons.
Minister Appoints New Board
The Minister of Transport and Infrastractural Development, Honourable Dr. Obert Mpofu, appointed the former General Manager, Engineer Alvord Mabena to lead a new Board for the National Railways of Zimbabwe with effect from 11 June 2014.
The seven-member Board, which was mandated to steer and turnaround the fortunes of the national rail entity, includes the sole returnee from the previous board Dr. Kotsho Dube-led Board, Brigadier General David Chiweza, who came in as deputy to Engineer Mabena. The other Board members include Mr Joseph Mashika, Mr Erick Makarimayi, Mrs Nomathemba Ndlovu, Mrs Chrystoma Kanjoma and Mrs Angeline Karonga.
In his maiden speech after the appointment, Engineer Mabena said although the NRZ was bedeviled with a myriad of challenges, they were not insurmountable. He said the panacea to the challenges was to “find the right chemistry between the Board, employees and the government”.
Acknowledging that it had been long since he left the organization, Engineer Mabena said he, together with the new board members had an idea of how railway organizations are run and it takes a lot of resources, vision and expertise to put things together. More importantly, the Board Chairman said they were spurred on by the firm belief and conviction of serving the country.
The Board is indeed geared and committed to turnaround the fortunes of NRZ.

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