Durban – Commuters taking long distance trains were left stranded after a Transnet freight train derailed at Hertzberg, in the Free State, in the early hours of Monday morning.The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) announced that it was experiencing major train disruptions after the incident occurred in Bloemfontein south at around 02:00.Prasa spokesperson Lillian Mofokeng said the derailment would affect long distance passenger trains."All passenger trains to and from the Eastern Cape, including Queenstown, East London, and Port Elizabeth, have been affected and are unable to pass the incident site," said Mofokeng.She said management and technical teams were working to reroute trains via Kimberly to minimise further delays.Peak season"The Transnet freight technicians have already been dispatched to attend to the derailment and they anticipate that the recovery work will take approximately 10 hours."The agency said it could unfortunately not provide stranded commuters with alternative transport because it was peak season for the bus industry and no resources were available."Buses are being arranged only for passengers stuck at Springfontein to Johannesburg."Mofokeng said affected customers should call Mainline Passenger Services Contact Centre on 086 000 8888, or customer services managers Henry Feleza on 083 287 0421 or Daisy Daniels on 083 890 6311.The railway agency apologises to all its customers and their families for the inconvenience caused, Mofokeng said."We appeal to commuters to exercise patience while the technical teams are working around the clock to restore service and ensure safe arrival to various destinations."