africanews | vAlmost five years have passed since the Eséka railway accident in Cameroon that took 79 lives and left around 600 people injured, Thursday saw this same previously suspended express train between Douala and Yaoundé back on the rails via a safety test run overseen by transport authorities.
The train has since been doubled in size with sixteen cars instead of the usual nine.
A #CAMRAIL train consisting of eleven renovated wagons to transport passengers has arrived the #Yaounde Railway Station on a test trip from the economic capital of #Cameroon, #Douala. pic.twitter.com/EBHuLXkBYs
— CRTVweb (@CRTV_web) April 29, 2021
Cameroonian Minister Jean Ernest Ngale Bihehe, shared a few words about the success of the relaunch with the media.
“The Transcam 1 Douala Yaounde is in the process of being completely rehabilitated. The same is true for Transcam 2 between Yaoundé and Ngaoundéré. When you have recently installed equipment, the speed per kilometre must be reduced. This is what we have done today.
Following Thursday’s successful test run, the first departures of the express train have been scheduled for the upcoming days.
The result of the investigation of the October 21, 2016, accident, revealed not only speeding but also a dilapidated fleet of equipment and rolling stock of Camrail — the company in charge of rail transport management in Cameroon.
#Cameroon rail operator Camrail begins trial journey between Douala-Yaounde for the first time since the 2016 Eseka train derailment.
Cameroon’s Transport Minister Jean Ernest Massena Ngalle Bibehe and some government officials were aboard the train. pic.twitter.com/01QNKieuN4
— Regina Sondo (@ReginaSondoM) April 29, 2021
Camril — along with the Cameroonian government which announced the rehabilitation of a dozen cars from the old fleet and the purchase of 4 locomotives, has since invested around 335 million euros to upgrade the railway network.
Among the railways to be completely rehabilitated is the one linking Douala-Yaoundé and Yaoundé-Ngaoundéré. Work on the Transcamerounaise 1 (Douala-Yaoundé) is being completed.
According to Michel Ossock, the deputy director of Camrail, 330km of railways have already been renewed, 15 metal bridges have been rehabilitated and 300 hydraulic works have also been rehabilitated.