Three separate train fires delay Western Cape commuters

The City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service respond to a train fire. (Christina Pitt, News24)
The City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service respond to a train fire. (Christina Pitt, News24)

A shooting and a fire have caused serious train delays at Mbekweni station in Paarl in the Western Cape, says Metrorail.

Train number 3520 was set alight at 12:26 at the station, following a shooting incident, spokesperson Zino Mihi told News24.

She was unable to confirm information on injuries, arrests or affected commuters because of the rapidly unfolding situation.

"We don't know as yet because everybody is there on site."

Metrorail announced that, as a result of the incident, train journey times would increase by over an hour while investigations are ongoing and the area is being cleared.

READ: R30m damage caused by Cape Town train fire

Service impact

Mihi said the two incidents appeared to be related, though she was quick to point out that the investigation was in the very early stages.

"There're two incidents: The shooting and also the fire. The shooting incident happened first and soon after that the train was burning. We have the dots to connect because it happened minutes apart."

The South African Police Service confirmed the incident.

"The circumstances are being investigated but a man was shot when he tried to attack another man and commuters set the train alight," Lieutenant Colonel André Traut told News24.

Metrorail has had to deal with a number of train fires over the past several months, in addition to vandalism of equipment and theft of cables.

Mihi said that Metrorail requires a minimum of 88 train sets to operate the service in the Western Cape, and it only has 42 reliable sets at the moment.

She indicated the entity would be releasing statistics for arrests of cable thieves next week.

One coach is also burning at Cape Town station.

"One train coach is burning," Mihi told News24, adding that the fire started at 14:35.

"We're going to have a seriously reduced service," she said about the impact on commuters as the company prepares for the afternoon peak.

Meanwhile in Firgrove, the city's fire and rescue service also responded just before 14:00 to Firgrove railway station where they are currently dealing with two railway carriages that have been set alight.

"No injuries have been reported and currently we have 16 firefighters at the Firgrove incident," the city's fire and rescue spokesperson Theo Layne said.

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