Western Cape train commuters stranded thanks to vandalism, cable theft

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Cable theft and vandalism have led to widespread disruptions to the rail network in the Western Cape.
Cable theft and vandalism have led to widespread disruptions to the rail network in the Western Cape.
PHOTO: Jonathan Lestrade/Son
  • Vandalism to rail infrastructure has caused widespread disruptions to Western Cape train services.
  • The vandalism caused power outages on several corridors.
  • Commuters on several lines face delays and cancellations.

Cable theft and vandalism caused power outages that led to widespread disruptions to the rail network in the Western Cape.

On Thursday morning, commuters faced cancellations and delays on several lines.

According to Metrorail spokesperson Nana Zenani, there were a number of power outages in various corridors that feed into the Metrorail substation. The Cape Flats, southern suburbs, and northern lines have all been affected.

While power has been restored to areas affected by cable theft, the lines remain "unsafe to operate" and the entire system needs to be "reset", Zenani said.

Meanwhile, theft of rail clips has affected the Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) northern line, which Metrorail uses to transport customers on the Wellington line.

READ | Load shedding, vandalism wreak havoc on Metrorail train services across Cape Town

"The rail clips secure the rail on the ground and without them, trains cannot safely operate and risk derailment. TFR technicians have taken occupation of the line in order to restore the rail clips and secure the line," Zenani added.

By Thursday morning, there was partial service on the northern line in Wellington and Metrorail was operating a shuttle service from the Wellington line to Kraaifontein Station.

"As a matter of urgency, technicians are hard at work resetting the system in preparation for train operations," Zenani added.

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula was expected to visit the Central Line "to assess ongoing work to recover the line and the relocation of illegal settlements on the rail infrastructure".

However, the visit was postponed due to the power outages, Zenani said.

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