The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has warned gold panners and the public against sabotaging the parastatal’s infrastructure as they risk being injured or causing train derailment.
In a statement released yesterday, NRZ spokesperson Fanuel Masikati said the parastatal’s security department had received reports of panners digging underneath and along railway lines.
“We have also observed with concern, dangerous attempts and practices by some gold panners who have resorted to digging gold along the railway lines as well as under the railway lines, a move which is highly dangerous and risky to the movement of both passenger and good trains in the country,” he said.
Masikati also said thieves had targeted steel structures at rail flyover bridges as well as stealing ballast stones, which support the rail tracks.
“These acts of sabotage are strongly discouraged since they pose danger to the movement of trains and the travelling public in the country,” he said.
“Some children and adults have also been observed lying and sitting on railway lines, an act which is dangerous to their lives.
“Passengers are advised to use proper platform walkways, instead of crossing underneath stationary trains, as well as crossing railway lines, since it is dangerous and people may risk being run over by shunting trains.
“The general public may also be reminded that railway reserves are protected areas and people are prohibited from entering and crossing railway lines, save for designated crossing points only.”
Meanwhile, Masikati said the NRZ had introduced additional passenger trains in anticipation of huge human traffic movements during the forthcoming Heroes and Defence Forces holidays.
He said commuter train services in Bulawayo and Harare would be suspended between August 11 and 14.
“However, the Bulawayo–Francistown passenger train service will run as normal,” Masikati said.