Signal Manager narrates how he used torchlight, to no avail, to stop Wassa train from fatal collision

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Signal Manager at the Wassa Manso Level Crossing Samuel Koranchie has detailed how two trains collided head-on at Wassa Manso in the Mpohor District of the Western Region last Friday, resulting in the death of five persons and leaving 11 injured.

According to Mr. Koranchie, the train driver from Takoradi failed to heed to his signal that another training was coming from Nsuta.

“I first received permission from Benso. Few minutes later, I received another permission from Angu. The Benso train set off 9:32pm. Twelve minutes later, 107 from Angu also left. So I had to come to the level and turn it to ensure a smooth change. Normally, we receive the empty trains on the lower rails because they are weak and receive loaded trains on the upper rails because they are quite strong”.

He continued: “I was expecting the train from Angu to come but it delayed. When it finally came it stopped here at the station close to some load. I then went to the assistant (driver) and told him to move because we are embarking on a switch. He did not mind me. I then went to the driver to flag him with my torch amidst shouting to move because another train was coming. Unfortunately, he could not hear me because of the loud sound of the engine. Before long, I heard the Benso train coming, hooting its horn. It was then too late to do anything because it was close.

“So I ran to safety. Immediately I moved few meters away I heard a loud bang sound.”

A passenger who was on the train explained that “when we got to Amantin, we were supposed to stop but the driver said he couldn’t because his brakes have failed”.

Railways Minister John Peter Amewu, who visited the accident scene with the Acting Managing Director of the Ghana Railways Company Limited, Dr. Ing Adjei Anyetei, commiserated with the families of the dead.

He suspects that mere negligence and lack of maintenance over a long period of time could have contributed to the accident.

“From the explanation and what we have seen, it is a clear case of negligence… I have not seen two trains colliding. The lines you see are narrow gauge and because of negligence and as a country over a long period of non-maintenance of our system, I think is also a contributory factor”.

He indicated that it was “on this basis that His Excellency [Akufo-Addo] saw the need to revamp the whole train system in the country. And as you can see, there is work currently ongoing to convert the narrow gauge to standard gauge and as you are aware it is safer and has more stability”.

According to him, a committee will be quickly put together to investigate the accident and ensure that there is no repeat.

By Eric Yaw Adjei|Connect FM|3news.com|Ghana