’Plain train service on shut down

The Mitchell’s Plain train services have been cut indefinitely.

This comes after Metrorail suspended services on the Chris Hani – Kapteinsklip – Bishop Lavis central train lines as of Monday December 11 because of recent excessive damage to the lines caused by vandalism, cable theft and destruction of critical infrastructure in the Bonteheuwel -Netreg – Nyanga area, where no service is possible.

Stations are closed and no tickets will be on sale until further notice. Commuters have been advised to find alternative transport.

Metrorail weekly or monthly ticket holders can use Golden Arrow buses off-peak, between 8.30am and 3.30pm, and then again after 6.30pm.

Regional manager Richard Walker confirmed that technical teams were doing repairs under armed escort but feared that criminals could launch fresh attacks on infrastructure overnight.

“Our teams report from the site that they are being observed as they work,” he said.

Mr Walker called on the police and law enforcement agencies to support Metrorail Protection Services to secure the area to enable services to resume soon.

“We are engaging with South African Police Service (SAPS) management, including the Rapid Rail Response Unit, on how to deal with the increasingly aggressive and destructive attacks on infrastructure,” he said.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott told the Plainsman that money has been reassigned to fund 54 projects to stabilise the service in the Western Cape.

The total value of the projects in progress is R292 million.

Ms Scott said recently the Minister of Transport announced that R9 billion has been assigned for modernisation of the Western Cape’s rail infrastructure.

“The bulk (R3 billion) would see the region receive 35 new train-sets and R2.9 billion would be used to upgrade the maintenance depot, security and fencing or walling,” she said.

The remainder would be apportioned to station upgrades at R1.6 billion and the replacement of signalling including the construction of a new train traffic control centre, track and civils at R1.2 billion.

“We call on the appropriate authorities to close down illegal scrap dealers, root our crime and gangsterism to reduce the demand for non-ferrous metal pilfering or theft.

“We are also busy migrating from copper-based to optic fibre technology. We also call on communities to report criminal activity in their neighbourhoods,” she said.

Anyone with information that can lead to the conviction of thieves and vandals will be rewarded up to R25 000. Anonymity is guaranteed and reports of any rail-related criminal activity can be submitted 24 hours to any of the following numbers: Metrorail Protection Services hot-line on 021 449 4336/5056; Rapid Rail Police Units (RRPU) Cape Town (Platform 1) on 021 443 4325; RRPU Bellville on 021 941 6800; RRPU Philippi or Stock Road on 021 370 1011; RRPU Retreat on 021 710 5129; RRPU Radio Control or operations room on 021 449 5111; SAPS Crime Stop on 086 001 0111; or Crime line SMS on 32211.