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File photo: Lusa
The Limpopo railway line between Maputo and the Zimbabwean border reopened to traffic on Wednesday afternoon, after a brigade from the port and rail company CFM had repaired the damage to the line caused by the derailment of a passenger train in the Manhiça area, about 80 kilometres north of the capital, on Monday night.
Cited by the independent daily “O Pais”, the head of the CFM passenger transport department, Emidio Bata, said the derailment caused losses to CFM of about 30 million meticais (around 476,000 US dollars). Over two thirds of this is the cost of repairing the derailed locomotive and carriages.
The derailment was caused by criminal interference with a set of points near the Maragra sugar plantation. Bata said there were no casualties among the 1,000 passengers on board because the train was moving slowly, and because the passengers remained calm.
“They didn’t panic”, said Bata. “They kept calm, and our colleagues on board, such as the ticket inspectors, and the transport police played a role in keeping everyone calm”.
The derailment happened 74 kilometres north of Maputo and six kilometres south of Manhiça town, where a branch line goes to the Maragra sugar mill. The locomotive came completely off the tracks, and three of the seven passenger carriages partly derailed.
Bata believed the points were sabotaged by people who intended to rob the train. Similar sabotage had happened in the past by people intent on stealing sugar from trains leaving Maragra. These thefts only stopped thanks to increased vigilance by the police and by CFM itself.
No-one has so far been arrested in connection with the Monday sabotage, but investigations are under way said Bata. He said CFM has appealed to communities living along the line of rail to denounce acts of sabotage.
Bata said the three derailed carriages are currently out of service – which means three fewer carriages on the trains from Maputo to Manhiça, inevitably worsening an already serious problem of overcrowding.Source: Lusa