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R70m damage to Metrorail infrastructure in less than two weeks

By Faeza
20 April 2016

In less than two weeks, the damage caused to Metrorail infrastructure stands at R70m, the company said on Tuesday.

And the results of the vandalism, which led to two-hour commuter delays on Monday, could take several days to repair or replace.

Track circuits between Bonteheuwel and Netreg as well as Mandalay and Stock Road were damaged and apparatus cases were burnt at Woodstock, Esplanade and Mandalay in what Metrorail has called a “series of targeted attacks”.

“From previous similar incidents the re-construction of an apparatus case can take several days due to the intricacy of the job and the extent of fire damage. Virtually no components are salvageable after a fire,” Metrorail spokesperson, Riana Scott, told News24.

The first arson attack at Cape Town Station took place on April 9, when two trains were set alight, resulting in the closure of platforms and delays.

Alternative transport

On Friday morning, a train was set alight and four carriages were razed in Kraaifontein. Later that day, three carriages were set alight at the Esplanade Station.

Limited services were available to commuters in the central service area on Monday and there were delays and cancellations on the northern line due to vandalism and arson.

On Tuesday morning, Metrorail told commuters to make use of alternative transport due to “anticipated delays of 120+ minutes on all lines”.

Currently 42 carriages, equalling about four full train sets, are out of commission, mainly in the northern service area, Scott confirmed.

Call for refunds

Metrorail regional manager, Richard Walker, said customer services employees were on duty to assist commuters. “We will also continue to operate trains until all commuters have been transported home,” he said.

Some frustrated passengers, who took to social media to vent their unhappiness, called for ticket refunds.

“You are robbing the local populace of their hard earned money and you should be ashamed to call Metrorail a transport service,” one Facebook user commented on the Cape Metrorail page.

Another said she had requested and had been denied a refund on her monthly ticket.

Other commuters also told News24 they felt stranded as they had monthly tickets but no extra cash so close to month end to make alternative arrangements.

Scott said anyone requiring proof of delays for employers could request letters of confirmation at stations or register for the ‘Email my boss’ option on the mobi-site www.GoMetroApp.com.

Source: News24