Uganda Railways Corporation is working towards implementing new technologies to promote the safety of Ugandans, says John Lenon Ssengendo, the corporation's spokesperson, following the Sunday accident involving locomotive number 7315 and an SUV motor vehicle at Nakawa.
He explained that although collisions with the locomotive in Uganda are rare, when it does, it prompts the corporation to take lessons and make the necessary improvements that the public suggests, among which is an automatic barrier.
Mr. Ssengendo said the railway has been undergoing technological advancement stretching from Kampala to Malaba, with operations taking place at the Jinja-Tororo sections.
“In areas of Greater Kampala Metropolitan, where the train passes, the technology will be more advanced at the new line. We shall have automated barriers like they are being requested. The present ones are manual and need someone to put them down. Sometimes they can’t be laid because the drivers are parking below them,” he said.
Sengendo explained that sometimes drivers park below the barriers, and the operators are unable to put them down because they may damage the cars. In turn, they employed level crossing guards, which drivers also don't respect because they are not like a physical traffic police officer.
Asked why the Uganda Railways Corporation has taken longer to upgrade to the modern standards yet other transport means have fairly modernized, and whether the tragic incident is what prompted the developments, Ssengendo revealed that the project has been underway.
“It is a 5-year program that started way before the unfortunate incident occurred. It was in progress because we have a plan to provide safe and affordable transport for both passengers and people who bring in cargo. So the rehabilitations were ongoing even before this happened,” he explained.
He also appealed to the public to respect label crossings, putting in mind the presence of an incoming train whenever they approach a railway line. He advised motorists to park a few meters before the line when in traffic for their safety.
The nasty accident that happened at exactly 3:31 a.m Sunday morning claimed the lives of three people including Aturinda Caroline a Law Development Center student who was due to graduate on 29th July, Nobert Tizikara an Architect, and Anna Kabaaya.
The Police attributed the accident to negligence and reckless driving as the car was captured crossing the railway steadily as the approaching train flashed full bright lights just a few meters away from it.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, and Sarah every weekday from 6 am to 10 am on RX Radio.