- Published on Thursday, 20 September 2012 00:00
- Written by ABDUEL ELINAZA
- Hits: 911
THE Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) plans to introduce a single signalling and communication regulation system to be adopted by current and future rail services operators.
The new regulations -- The Railways (Block Working and Signal Interlocking) 2012 -- will be used to control railway traffic, a function that is crucial for safety, particularly preventing trains from collision.
Sumatra's acting Director General Ahmad Kilima said yesterday in the absence of common rules, the two railway services operators in the country use their own guidelines leading to higher operational costs that might be abused.
"There is the possibility that a private operator will be preoccupied with profit motive to the detriment of safety," Mr Kilima said when opening one day stakeholders' meeting to discuss the draft."Though railways are generally a very safe mode of transport, the safety situation in our railways is already precarious," he added. Railways are the second safety mode of transport after air transport.
There are two operators in the country namely Tanzania and Zambia Railways Authority (Tazara) and Tanzania Railways Limited (TRL) both are using different mode of communications and training institutions. "This will be the first signalling and communication regulations, previously there were no such rules as the subsector was not regulated," the acting DG said.
The regulation, according to the DG, will safeguard the operations of city commuting trains to minimize accidents due to poor signalling and communications. Sumatra's Director Railways Regulation, Eng Eliona Simbo, said once the regulation 2012 is passed, among other things, all railway signals controlling movements on main or running line shall be mechanically or electronically interconnected to prevent conflicting movements.
A Railway Consultant Eng Alfred Nalitolela said the regulations would not only improve safety standard but pave way for future mode of signalling and communication in the sector."There is no common industrial rule in the sector, this regulation is of the paramount importance as it will further improve safety standards," Mr Nalitolela, who has over 30 years experienced in railways, said.
Another railway stakeholder said since the country opened doors to the private sector it was time to have common regulations in signalling and communication."This will minimize or eliminate accidents in the sector as trains are travelling on a single track," Eng Johnson Manumbu said.