Fire guts passenger train

HARARE - A Harare-bound National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) passenger train power coach was gutted by a mysterious fire at Somerby Siding Station near Snake World just outside Harare yesterday.

The incident, which occurred around ten o’clock in the morning left residents of Snake World farming community shell shocked as the locomotive travelled from as far as Kintyre Estates before the driver of the train realised it.

“We noticed that the train was burning and almost everyone who was in the township signalled the driver who seemed not to notice to stop,” said Nelson Ndarasika an eyewitness.

Ndarasika added that the fire could have been fatal if it had occurred far from human settlements as passengers did not realise their train had caught fire as it was raining heavily.

He said the fire did not go as far as the passenger coach hence there were no injuries with only one woman who appeared to have been in shock being taken away in a municipal ambulance.

“People from Kintyre Estates called us to say that they had also noticed that the train was smoking from inside but could not inform the driver.

“Even when we called to him, he did not seem to hear us at first and when he eventually stopped, that is when the passengers began to panic with some trying to jump through the windows before they were calmed down”.

When the Daily News crew arrived at the scene, the Harare Municipality Fire Brigade was struggling to put out the fire that burnt the coach beyond repair.

As the firemen made frantic efforts, reinforcements were being sent in to help put the fire out, taking them close to an hour to extinguish.

The train was travelling from Bulawayo.

Fanwell Masikati, the NRZ public relations manager said they suspected an electrical fault in the coach which houses the electricity generator for the whole train adding that investigations to establish the exact cause of the fire were already underway.

“Normally, when accidents of that nature happen, we carry out thorough investigations to establish what exactly caused the fire and that process is already underway.

“We are happy that no one was injured and that the passenger coach arrived safely,” said Masikati.

This comes as the NRZ is cash-strapped and failing to service the 50-plus-year-old fleet that is now obsolete and no longer offers competitive service.

The average life of a railway asset is 25 years whether it is utilised or not.

Last year, Lewis Mukwada, the NRZ acting general manager, told the Amos Midzi-chaired parliamentary portfolio committee that they urgently needed $10 billion for re-capitalisation as   well as offsetting a $144 million debt owed to service providers and employees.

 

Comments (21)

TO TELL THE TRUTH ZIMBABWE IRI PA TIGHT' ZIM ASSET IRIPI. LIARS. BEDROOM CABINET SETTERS

lodza - 5 January 2015

Obert Mpofu dont coz confusion such that u handle the ministrys affairs from your office alone. We dont forget you did it at the Mines Ministry and now you did it to Zinara now Zinara is owing a lot of money to suppliers because its run thru your office. Pasi nemhanduuuuuu.

Haile - 5 January 2015

Ah, am actually shocked that there is an NRZ train running from Bulawayo to Harare. I tought those were long put at their museum, truly those are now death traps. The Observer.

Sean N. Nqindi - 5 January 2015

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CARTRIDGE GALLERY - 5 January 2015

The train represents Zimbabwe; the train driver represents Mugabe; the passengers represent Zimbabweans; those who called the driver to stop represent the international world. Zimbabwe is burning and the driver gleefully whittles past without a care in the world. Complete the story by yourself.

Kunda Kinde - 5 January 2015

@ Kunda Kinde- Are you really normal don't pretend to be a spiritualist. Whats wrong with you. Your interpretation of this incident is 'awesome'.Do not demonise our good president. Let an accident remain an accident period

MuShurugwi - 5 January 2015

Kunda Kinde made a brilliant analysis of this incident. Zim is like a burning train and the driver(president Mugabe) does not even notice it. And the passengers(zim citizens) are being stressed by being led by a driver who does not even realize the train is burning. Onlookers(the people watching the burning train and shouting), are, indeed, the international community telling our driver(Mugabe) to stop policies which harm the people. And nobody listens. The driver still goes to the old drivel of 'it's not my fault, it is the sanctions). The train driver will simply say it was the fault of the old engines. He will refuse to take any responsibility, just as Mr Mugabe refuses to take any responsibility for the economic woes of our country.

Chenjerai Hove - 5 January 2015

The country is like a burning train

flipflop - 5 January 2015

@national railways the responsible authorities always want to be given money after money, yet if they properly adminsiter their railway, they can even assist other organisations. this is a money making machine but kuba kuri kunyanya

munyaradzi mabasa - 5 January 2015

There is no proper way to tell the story than the way you did Chenjerai Hove, brilliant!, trying a hand at helping macartoonist ekuZimpapers, am sure they can produce hilarious cartoons!

Skokotsha - 5 January 2015

"Don't demonise our good president" what please tell me is good about him? He has wrecked the country to fill his own bank account. Please tell me, if Mugarbage is a good president then why is the country in tatters and so many million of its subjects living overseas or in SA? It's really laughable that those who defend Mugarbage are all living in the UK! Please explain!

Mike Tanski - 5 January 2015

Every parastatal has been dragged through populist politics by Zanu PF at some point and at the time it was happening, not many could have foreseen events like this catastrophe happening. Our current chief weevil, Jonathan, came up with the freedom trains more than a decade ago. Trains were made to run for a loss without a care were money for recapitalization would come from, or maybe since they were still printing dollars, they thought they would just print up enough for locomotives when the time came. See how ZESA now fails to maintain its infrastructure, yet chiefs' homes have been electrified for free and the chiefs are exempted from paying for their daily power. Ministers of energy have electrified their villages, yey!, but instructed ZESA not to collect usage. Even the president doe not pay his power bills. I shudder to think what would happen if such were to catch up with one of AirZim's aircraft while in flight because the same populist policies were once pressed on them. They were not supposed to peg their fares on foreign currency rates, and in the days of hyper inflation, those who could burn forex traveled to-fro London for 5 pounds. That is the Gonomics coming home to roost and it's not going to be something the country can wish away. Since the GNU many have sacrificed their labor for less than their worth hoping that while they did so, the politicians would do the same, tighten belts and put maximum effort in working for the reemergence of Zimbabwe BUT hey! out politicians have all along been rewarding themselves big through hefty pay packs in parastatals, extorting shareholding in companies, some demanding as much as US$150 million for introducing investors to their uncles. Why should we keep at it if it's heading nowhere or actually if it's all heading to disaster. It's time to stop before bigger disasters cost us dearly. I think Zim needs to change course totally.

Mseyamwa - 5 January 2015

National Ruins of Zimbabwe (NRZ) KKKKKK

analyst - 6 January 2015

l think we need to be a bit normal when things of this nature happens to our nation. l am talking about the train disaster. where does Mugabe come in there, and where does all these people mentioned by kunda kinte come in in an accident. let me ask this man, are all these accident that we see on our roads happening a result of Mugabe? are all these things happening because of this person? oh shame little kunda, you need to be examined for a mental problem that is haunting you. some of the many accidents that we see are caused by our 1.own negligence and attitudes 2. some are happen incidentally and not of our making 3. we are also to blame because of not making thorough check ups on equipment that we use and that's not Mugabe problem to see that you have not done it. let us be positive and build our nation, and get back to where this nation used to be.

nqabeni - 6 January 2015

l think we need to be a bit normal when things of this nature happens to our nation. l am talking about the train disaster. where does Mugabe come in there, and where does all these people mentioned by kunda kinte come in in an accident. let me ask this man, are all these accident that we see on our roads happening a result of Mugabe? are all these things happening because of this person? oh shame little kunda, you need to be examined for a mental problem that is haunting you. some of the many accidents that we see are caused by our 1.own negligence and attitudes 2. some are happen incidentally and not of our making 3. we are also to blame because of not making thorough check ups on equipment that we use and that's not Mugabe problem to see that you have not done it. let us be positive and build our nation, and get back to where this nation used to be.

nqabeni - 6 January 2015

Ngabeni and Mushurugwi are too simplistic to understand this irony. What happened to the train is what is happening in Zimbabwe. That is all what Chenjerai and Kunda Kinde are alluding to, but mediocre minds like Mushurugwi and ngabeni

maita - 6 January 2015

Good riddance to bad rubbish. I wish all these stone age trains were burnt and NRZ closes. Nonsense.

mosquito - 6 January 2015

A 50 plus years old fleet. Thats around 1965 and before. Ian smith's trains are still running. Why is zanu pf government still using "Colonial and imperialist" locomotives. This is what happens when you steal and plunder. By now one would expect NRZ to have bullet trains running through cities and towns and all this Madhimba-madhimba madness and taxis/buses hussles will not be in existance. Travelling by train is the best when properly managed not militarised.

X-MAN IV - 7 January 2015

its so sad that the zvishoma zviripo zviri kuparara and one day NRZ will be back on its feet. We will continue work for it and those who wish the worse from NRZ wont succeded.

AGNES - 7 January 2015

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