Disaster waiting to happen

Residents say the boom at the station must be replaced urgently. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI
Residents say the boom at the station must be replaced urgently. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

With a boom not working at Kenilworth train station, residents are afraid that danger is looming.

Since the end of last year, the boom has not been working and marshals have to facilitate the moving of motorists

Despite having marshals on site, that has not helped with the scratching of tyres and slamming of brakes as motorists approach the railway crossing. With other motorists being unsure whether to cross or not, at times traffic tends to pile up.

Residents also demand something to be done about the hooting of trains early in the morning. They say this is a matter of urgency but from the look of things, repairs are coming at a snail’s pace.

Resident Elizabeth Horn says the boom will not be fixed anytime soon. “They told us they are waiting for parts that are imported. It doesn’t look like it will be fixed any time soon. For some of us, sleep has become a luxury with all the hooting and screeching tyres,” he says.

Mandy-Lynn Mott, a community activist from Unite Behind says this is a great danger and something must be done to ensure the safety of commuters, motorists and pedestrians.

“From the look of things, nothing is going to happen soon, there is a lot of corruption. This has been a problem since last year. Look at False Bay boom, it took Metrorail nine months to fix it,” she says.

Mott says this is not safe at all and a boom is there for a reason. “Metrorail is just putting a lot of people in danger. This is a hazard and must be fixed but they are dragging their feet,” she says.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott says the region is amidst a re-signalling project which forms part of a national megaproject to modernise the railways, adding that the southern and Cape Flats lines are complete and the recent issues with the booms are related to the temporary integration of old and new technologies.

“The level crossing mechanism is in the process of being replaced with new technology due to continuous vandalism which damaged the obsolete booms. The replacement mechanism and technology will be similar to the Albertyn Road version with LED flashlights and four half arm booms with fibre for communication, and will cost about R1.8m,” she explains.

Scott adds that as a state-owned entity Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and Metrorail must procure contractors compliant with treasury regulations and Prasa Supply Chain Policy. The anticipated lead time to procure material, installation, testing and commissioning is about three months, currently.

“A commissioning date can only be set after the procurement process is complete. An interim solution (the temporary closure of the level crossing for motorists) will be discussed with the City of Cape Town,” she says in conclusion.

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