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Cape Town - Bleeding profusely from a stab wound to his leg, Troy Changfoot ran yelling after his attackers, but they were too quick for him.
The three boys, who could not have been older than 16, ran down the passenger carriage and cleared the gap between the interconnecting doors, somehow locking the door behind them.
Changfoot had been travelling on the southern line for a month and had felt very safe. But last Tuesday morning, but for him and an elderly man, the carriage was empty.
The train left Muizenberg on its way to Lakeside and the trio came through the interconnecting door and took different positions in the carriage. Changfoot was on his phone, his bag was open and his bright blue netbook was peeking out.
Seconds later, one of the newcomers pulled out a knife and told him to lie down and keep quiet. He instinctively grabbed his bag, and then felt the knife piercing his leg. Filled with rage, he pushed the attacker away from him and they all backed off, with his bag and phone.
They ran down the carriage and hopped into the next one.
The man sharing the carriage with Changfoot gave him a strap, which he tied around his leg to stop the bleeding. At Steenberg station, Changfoot called from a window to a security guard, who was on his phone. By the time the guard realised something was amiss the train was pulling out of the station.
Changfoot got off the train at Retreat, where Metrorail regional manager Herdia Wikomb helped him. The police arrived almost two hours later, after Wikomb, in desperation, had called a colonel.
Changfoot has continued using the train, but says there is not enough security in the morning. “They seldom patrol the carriages,” he said.
Days after the stabbing, someone who had been in the adjoining carriage said passengers had told security about the “suspicious-looking” boys, but nothing had been done.
Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle has continually slammed Metrorail for its lack of security on the southern line, especially at night. During the early part of this year Metrorail reported five incidents of robbery or attempted robbery on evening trains. These took place between the Retreat and Simon’s Town stations.
Metrorail acting regional manager Eddie Chinnappen said that after security was beefed up no further incidents were reported.
Chinnappen said the incident had come as a shock.
“I have requested that our protection services as well the railway police investigate immediately to prevent further incidents,” Chinnappen said.
He said the public were encouraged to report crime or suspicious behaviour immediately. A reward of up to R25 000 is payable for information leading to a conviction.