Police probe train derailment

Michael Jacobs, deputy chairperson of Mitchells Plain United Residents Association (MURA) at the railway line where the train derailed.

Mitchell’s Plain police are investigating the derailment of a train at Lentegeur railway station on Thursday September 21.

Metrorail confirmed that one passenger coach of a train en route from Kapteinsklip derailed on Thursday morning, shortly before 9am, between Mitchell’s Plain and Lentegeur stations.

Metrorail said initial reports attribute the derailment to a tyre placed on the tracks; however a full investigation is under way.

Riana Scott, spokesperson for Metrorail, said eyewitness accounts implicate pupils from a nearby school. “Metrorail Protection Services officials have handed some learners over to SAPS to obtain their statements on the incident.

“While clearing up operations were in progress, inbound and outbound train traffic operated on one line between Philippi and Kapteinsklip with extended travelling time of 60+ minutes.” she said.

Ms Scott said no injuries were reported as a result of the derailment but a woman sustained minor injuries on board when she was struck by a stone flung at the same train shortly before the incident.

She said she was taken to a nearby day hospital for treatment.

Michael Jacobs, deputy chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association (MURA) who was at the scene, said he was concerned about rail safety, especially on the Mitchell’s Plain line.

“There have been many problems regarding Metrorail, which includes cable theft, vandalism and robberies. And now, we’ve seen a train derail, so how can commuters feel safe?”

Mr Jacobs said hundreds of people in Mitchell’s Plain used the train daily to get to work and school.

“People are forced to use the train, because it is cheaper and they cannot afford to spend more money on other modes of transport. Sadly, Metrorail is not delivering good service to our people.

“Every week people are complaining that the trains are late and they end up arriving hours late to their destination. This is not on, so we are asking Metrorail, what they are doing about rail safety on our lines?” he said.

Speaking about rail safety, Ms Scott said their safety teams had conducted two safety campaigns recently at the particular school so that the pupils are well aware of the dangerous consequences of placing objects on the rail tracks.

“We appeal to parents, teachers and social development agencies to educate children and to provide constructive alternative activities to keep them occupied,” she said.