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All you need to know about railway safety

Written by More Matshediso


With October being Transport Month Vuk’uzenzele spoke to the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) to share some safety tips with passengers.

The RSR monitors and enforces compliance in the rail sector.  

The RSR spokesperson Madelein Williams said there are dos and don’ts that railway users should keep in mind.

“Passengers should always wait for the train to be stationary before they can board, and when boarding a train they should allow other passengers to exit first. They must always wait behind the yellow line, mind the gap between the train and the platform, and always use dedicated areas to cross the rail line,” she said.

“Passengers should also avoid standing too close to the train when it enters the station. Commuters should not cling on the outside of a moving train for whatever reason or trespass on the rail line as this can cost their lives,” she added.

Despite the accidents that the rail sector have experienced seen in the past, Williams said trains still remain the safest form of land-based transport.

Williams said in the case of emergency, such as a fire or a collision between trains, passengers must disembark the train immediately.

“While disembarking, they must ensure its safe to do so by checking that there are no loose overhead wires, no spilled chemicals or petroleum products that can catch fire on their path. If the accident is in a non-electrified area, they must wait for instructions from the train crew on which side of the train to disembark in case there are other trains that are still utilising the network,” she said.

Williams added that commuters must also assist those that are injured before the arrival of emergency medical service teams to the incident site.

With regards to the overcrowding in trains, she said everybody has a role to play in ensuring that railways are safe.

Adding that currently the RSR was addressing the challenge of overcrowding by issuing directives to compel operators to comply with scheduling and making sure that delays are communicated to commuters.

Williams said vandalism exacerbates the problem because trains are taken out of commission leaving fewer trains to transport commuters.