Prasa: Train blaze started by angry commuters

2015-05-07 11:11
(File, Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(File, Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Durban - Arsonists are believed to be responsible for the fire that gutted seven coaches of a train near Umlazi in Durban.

Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Zama Nomnganga said that rail traffic to and from Umlazi was severely affected on Thursday as a result of Wednesday night's blaze.

Nomnganga said: "There was a train that broke down. People became irritated and the next thing was that there was a blaze.

"The train that was burnt was not broken. It was waiting for a train in front of it."

Police arson specialists as well as Prasa were investigating the blaze.

He said that apart from the seven coaches of the train that had been gutted, the railway line infrastructure had also been damaged.

"Today there will be delays because there is only one line [in operation]."

The line between Durban and Umlazi and that between Durban and KwaMashu are the two busiest lines in the metropolitan area, transporting millions of commuters annually.

There were an estimated 2 000 people on the train at the time it halted for the train in front of it.

KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Service spokesperson said there were no reports of injuries.

The Mercury newspaper reported that its reporters and photographers at the scene had seen wooden pallets placed under some of the coaches.

Nomnganga said: "When you see a taxi broken down, you don't see the passengers burning it. I can't tell you how much this has cost, but it is millions."

He urged anyone that had seen anything to report it to police or contact the nearest Prasa office or inform officials at their railway station.

Read more on:    metrorail  |  durban  |  transport

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