BR COMMEMORATES SARA RAILWAY SAFETY WEEK ACROSS BOTSWANA
Botswana Railways recently commemorated the Southern Africa Railways Associations (SARA) Safety Week which comes as part of activities for Railways Safety month in Southern Africa. The activities commenced in Francistown and covered Palapye, Rasesa and Lobatse with the intent to increase public awareness on rail safety to curb accidents and fatalities on the track. Speaking at the events BR Chief Executive Officer Leonard Makwinja said it was important for motorists to keep not just their eyes but also their ears on the rail. Mr Makwinja further expressed his concern about the loss of life and damage to property as a result of easily avoidable accidents. He warned against playing of loud music when approaching the railline noting that it distracted drivers from hearing the warning horn of oncoming trains. His sentiments were shared by the BR Board Chairman Adolph Hirschfeld, who added that safety meant insuring that pedestrians, drivers, cargo, train drivers and anything that may cross the rail is safe. “A train locomotive is about 90-100 tones and when it’s moving at 40km/h, it’d take time for it to stop. It would probably need about a 100m to prepare to stop,” he said. He noted it is expensive to operate train business, and having trains being involved in accidents is costing us a lot of money, because service comes at a cost. The cheapest locomotive one can get is about P30 million. The Chairman of the Safety, Operations and Investment Committee, Oreeditse Molebatsi said road safety education should be intensified for local drivers. He implored Bus and Taxi associations to take responsibility in educating and sensitizing their members about the safe use of rail-road intersections noting that accidents traumatize train drivers who would normally need therapy after being involved in fatal accidents.