Train Accident

The worst train accident in the Pinelands area took place in 1960.

On Tuesday 7 June 1960 at 3 minutes to 8 am a train pulled out from Raapenberg Station in Pinelands heading towards Langa Station in heavy rain. The train was returning to Langa after dropping off passengers and was carrying 20 passengers.

Six minutes earlier a train left Langa station towards Pinelands. The train was packed with school children and workers. The driver, Mr Cilliers, saw the train from Pinelands heading towards him, jumped clear of the train and was uninjured. The two trains collided head on just outside the Raapenberg station leaving seven dead and 17 injured.

The driver of the Langa bound train, Mr Visagie from Thornton did his best to slow down his train to minimise the impact. He was trapped but managed to break open the door before being taken to the Rondebosch Cottage Hospital for treatment. 

The impact of the collision caused the wooden carriage of the Pinelands-bound train to crumble into the driving unit. The driving units of the two trains were embedded in each other. In the pandemonium that broke out, the injured passengers fought among themselves to get out through the windows as the doors had jammed. Mr Mdladlambe was hanging half out of a window but was pinned down by those trying to get out.

Ambulances and doctors were on the scene within minutes. Passengers who were able to extract themselves from the wreckage pulled others out to safety. It took three hours to remove the bodies from the train and further passenger died in hospital. The two sisters aged 8 and 9 with their brother aged 12 were killed as they were sitting in the front of the carriage which took the brunt of the impact. Besides the Rondebosch Cottage Hospital, the injured were taken to Groote Schuur and Langa Hospital.