Transnet said in a statement on Thursday afternoon that it would immediately suspend the services of its long-distance luxury passenger train service known as the Blue Train.
The train service has been in operation since 1946 and is internationally recognised for the quality of its domestic tourism and leisure service.
However, the Covid-19 novel coronavirus has prompted various business to scale back on service provision, and public transport services have not been spared.
In the statement, Transnet said suspension of the Blue Train service would take effect immediately and last until at least 30 April. The operation team would conduct a risk assessment earlier in the week.
"The decision to suspend The Blue Train's services is commensurate with the disaster declaration requirements from the South African government to ensure the safety of all present in the country," the statement said.
The statement said the Blue Train team informed booked, paid and confirmed guests of the changes to the cancellation policy to accommodate potential travel disruptions due to Covid-19.
"The changes give guests who are due to travel on The Blue Train between 18th March 2020 and 31st August 2020 two options.
"The first option is to postpone travel to any date that falls within September 2020 to December 2021. Only one postponement will be allowed during the 69 weeks. The second option is to cancel confirmed bookings and receive a full refund. Both these options will not incur any penalties," the statement said.
The statement said cancellations of travel after 31 August 2020 will be dealt with using the Blue Train's usual standard terms and conditions.
"The duration of the suspension will again be reviewed in mid-April; pending new developments and pronouncements by the World Health Organisation and our country’s national health institutions, on the status of the Covid-19 pandemic," the statement said.
The statement added that any costs or expenses incurred as a result of the postponement such as flights, accommodation, transfers, excursions and other costs would be at the customers' expense.