At a press conference on 8 March, ONCF Chief Executive Mohamed Rabie Khlie unveiled the company’s safety strategy.
Traffic safety is considered to be a top priority and core value of the ONCF management, and is a daily concern for the company.
At the press conference, Mohamed Rabie Khlie stated that “ONCF is rallying its efforts, anticipating and going the extra mile by imposing a strict code of conduct: constantly including safety requirements in all areas of railway operations by fixing ambitious goals and by developing operational action plans to achieve them”. Moreover, ONCF is taking every opportunity to test the smooth running of its safety measures through simulations, with the first large-scale drill performed on Tuesday 28 February 2012, focusing on the derailment of a passenger train on a main line.
ONCF now has an organisational structure which will ensure improved operational management through four key components: people, procedures including regulation, fixed railway installations and rolling stock.
To ensure effective management of safety, ONCF is making significant investments to boost and improve these four components.
Almost 1.3 billion Dirhams (117 million euros) were invested for the period 2005-2009, covering operations to enhance and upgrade signalling, and the removal and replacement of level crossings, etc.
For the period 2010 – 2015, ONCF is continuing in this vein and is setting aside 1.5 billion Dirhams (135 million euros) for projects to improve railway safety by implementing actions aiming to improve the reliability of both safety staff as well as rolling stock and railway installations.
The national programme to remove level crossings and replace them with new structures features among the priorities in ONCF’s strategy, and aims to increase the safety of local residents and traffic and improve flow on urban and suburban journeys. The aim of this programme is to reduce the number of level crossings by 50% across the national network and by 100% in densely-populated conurbations such as greater Casablanca.
Let us not forget that in Morocco, the national railway network comprises 521 level crossings (an average of 25 level crossings per 100 km of lines), whereas over the same distance Algeria has 61 level crossings, Belgium 53, Spain 78 and France 59.
Since 2005, almost 42% of the overall programme has been achieved, corresponding to the removal of 107 level crossings – that is an average of 16 level crossings a year (compared to 2 level crossings per year between 1990 and 2004) – and their replacement with around 67 engineering structures: pedestrian footbridges, rail bridges and road bridges. The new lines that have recently started operations such as the Tangier Med port link and the Nador line do not have any level crossings.