Twenty four disused Shosholoza Meyl train carriages were burnt at Bloemfontein railway station on Saturday, with a group of youths coming under suspicion after they had been chased out of the yard.
Passenger Rail Agency of SA spokesperson Lilian Mofokeng said security staff saw a group of young men at the train yard on Saturday and moved them.
"The youths it seems returned and deliberately set fire to two old coaches staged at the depot on trains earmarked for refurbishment and repairs," Mofokeng said.
Twenty four carriages were lost in the massive blaze. The carriages themselves are worth R90m. EWN reported that the actual damage was estimated around R4m.
No services were disrupted because the carriages were a distance away from the station itself, but the fire will affected critical cables at the depot.
The massive loss is a setback for the company which has already lost many carriages due to train fires and is battling cable theft and infrastructure damage.
Police confirmed that arson is suspected, and police and Prasa have asked for information to help apprehend the perpetrators.
"The cause of the fire is under investigation but it has been determined that there was no electricity or fuel in the carriages," police said.