Commuters who make use of the Metrorail train service were faced with delays due to the destruction of ten carriages and five platforms. The trains were destroyed by a fire that erupted at Cape Town Train Station on Saturday. Spokesperson for Metrorail, Riana Scott, explained that Metrorail delays on Monday were 43 minutes-plus, instead of the expected 60 minute-plus delay. On Tuesday, delays are expected to be between 15 to 30 minutes.
Commuters reported fears of a hike in the cost of train tickets following the destruction of the carriages and the platforms, whilst many explained their frustration at train delays and cancellations.
“You cannot have five platforms out of commission without feeling the effects, but the technical team did sterling work,” Scott explained.
Metrorail’s technical team managed to restore platforms eight to ten, whilst platforms eleven and twelve remain out of commission.
The structural damage, Scott asserts, is quite significant and, therefore, requires assessment.
She further noted that in the event of technical problems, Metrorail is able to accommodate commuters. Saturday’s fire, however, resulted in both a decreased number of trains and platforms and is, therefore, expected to greatly impact commuting.
The damaged trains, Scott affirmed, will be replaced once capital is made available and suppliers are able to accommodate the request.
“Our trains are old; parts will need to be imported or custom made. This will, therefore, add to the cost,” Scott noted.
Metrorail reported to have lost more than 20 train carriages to arson since last year. Whilst the investigation continues, the rail operator believes that Saturday’s fire is as a result of an “orchestrated arson attack.”
“It was a very orchestrated and planned attack. If you look at the time from which the fire basically started and how quickly it spread, you can see it was accelerated and assisted,” Metrorail’s regional manager, Richard Walker, explained to EWN.
A R100, 000 reward has been offered for any information that could assist in the investigation.