Zambia Railways management now says the derailment of the Livingstone bound passenger train which led to death of one person and several others injured yesterday in Southern province was caused by sabotage by people who removed bolts from the railway line.
In a press statement reacting to the Zambian Watchdog expose of the train derailment due to poor workmanship and dilapidated railway line, company manager of public relations Caristo Chitamfya disclosed the ‘sabotage’ and denied any poor workmanship. He also says only two persons were injured in the whole train while admitting the death of another one person.
“Zambia Railways is saddened by suspected acts of sabotage that occurred at 11:45 hrs this morning between Mazabuka and Magoye in Southern province causing one death and two injuries. Our report after initial investigations indicate that the passenger train 201moving from Kitwe to Livingstone derailed at Magoye due to missing railway components known as ‘fish bolts’ and ‘fish plates’ that are used for joining the rail causing both the baggage and genset vans to fall on their sides”, reads the report availed to the Zambian Watchdog.
But an Engineer in the company has said that the loosening of the fish bolts is due to a weaker railway surface which was not compacted. He said that due to load the fish plates get ‘eaten up’ thereby loosening the fish bolts. He attributed the weak surface area to the poor workmanship because most of the people who were hired to ‘rehabilitate’ the railway line lack expertise and equipment.
“That Caristo and his paymasters must stop waffling and fooling about. That cannot be an act of sabotage unless he is saying that the saboteurs are the same PF cadres who were hired to ‘rehabilitate’ the railway line and were paid huge sums of money. Such kind of derailments are due to weaker railway surface because the bed was not compacted. You require a heavy duty compacting machine and not the hoes that those thugs were using, that is why in modern countries they don’t allow timber sleepers but real concrete sleepers which must be reinforced with proper equipment before laying the railway line and join it with fish bolts,” he elaborated.