Rail Transport: Safe and Affordable

19 Dec. 2012
by Anonymous
Starline train at Windhoek Station

Affordable daily passenger train services are being provided between Windhoek and Walvis Bay and Keetmanshoop as well as the newly introduced service between Tsumeb and Oshikango. The service includes aircraft-like seats, air-conditioning, vending machines and an audio-visual entertainment system.

"There will be two passenger coaches in each direction with capacity of 72 people per coach. Therefore, each train will carry a maximum of 144 people in each direction. The coaches will have electricity powered by generators, water as well as ablution facilities", said the acting Chief Executive Officer Eugenia Tjaronda.
Unfortunately TransNamib will not be able to provide this service between Kranzberg and Tsumeb, as this section of the network is technically unfit in terms of engineering standards for passenger transport services, until such time that the entire section is rehabilited.
"We believe in the safety of our passengers and cannot take chances to put their lives at risk", said Tjaronda. According to her it is important to assess rail safety performance within the right context and in comparison to SADC standards. TransNamib has for the period 2004 - 2009 incurred 2.75 mainline accidents per million train km, against a benchmark of 4.0. For yard accidents, TransNamib for the same period stood at 3.30 accidents per 1000 trains handled against the benchmark of 4.0. Yard accidents are generally of low impact in terms of damages or disruption of services.
"In terms of human lives, rail transport as a safe transport mode even further excels above any other means of transport in Namibia with three lives lost (i.e. two train crew and one passenger) over the last 32 years due to rail accidents. Over the past 10 years up to 2012, a total of 19 fatalities incurred at level crossing accidents which were all due to road user negligence", said Tjaronda.
According to her, rails is thus undoubtedly still the safest mode of surface transport, taking into account the tonnages that are transported accident free and the minimal fatalities.

When it comes to the affordability of travelling by train Tjaronda said after market research, the following rates were established:

  • The entire line has been divided into six zones/sections and the rate for each section is N$16 per adult
  • For the Tsumeb - Ondangwa section, passengers will be charged N$80
  • For the Ondangwa - Oshikango section, passengers will be charged a total of N$16
  • For the Tsumeb - Oshikango section, passengers will be charged a total of N$96
  • Compared to taxis on that section that charge N$150, passengers travelling with the Starline save N$54
  • Senior Citizens will be given a rebate of 33 percent
  • School children will be charged 50 percent of the adult price
  • One child between the ages of six to 12 years will be charged 50 percent of the adult price
  • One child between the ages of 0 to five years will travel for free

"TransNamib offers you that opportunity to experience rail safety in its entirety by utilising our StarLine Passenger Services, during this upcoming festive season", Tjaronda concluded.

For further information see:

Timetable of Trains in Namibia: http://www.movewindhoek.com.na/content/timetable-trains-namibia-1

Business hours and contacts of Starline: http://www.movewindhoek.com.na/content/starline-contacts-and-business-hours


Source: Insight Magazine, December 2012 / January 2013, page 49.