Johannesburg - The operators of the Gautrain rapid rail link have apologised for recent delays, the latest which was caused by a computer shut-down on Tuesday morning.

“The Bombela Concession Company (BCC) apologises to Gautrain customers for delays that some passengers have experienced recently,” it said in a statement.

The company said that it took great pride in the Gautrain and wished to offer its customers a dependable, world-class service at all times.

On Tuesday morning, a train from Centurion to Midrand encountered a technical problem and in accordance with safety protocols the train was brought to a safe stop, BCC said.

An alternative train was sent and, for safety reasons, transferring passengers took a long time, causing more delays.

Follow-on trains along the Park-Hatfield line continued operating, although they were slightly delayed.

All airport trains had been running as usual and on schedule, the company said.

“BCC understands the level of frustration, inconvenience and discomfort experienced by passengers during these interruptions, particularly when these incidents occur at peak times, and wish to thank passengers for their patience during this time.”

The Mail & Guardian reported earlier that people had tweeted pictures of passengers walking back to Centurion and that some had been told by Gautrain staff that they could catch taxis or walk.

The publication quoted Gautrain spokesperson Errol Braithwaite as saying this would have been unsafe, as they would be near live tracks with trains whipping past.

The company said it would look at closed circuit television footage to investigate claims that safety procedures had not been followed.

Remarks were made about whether the train had become stuck on gum after a media report that two sisters were detained by Gautrain security for four hours and were fined R700 for chewing gum, which is not allowed on the trains.

This is because gum removal is costly and gum blobs are an inconvenience for customers who may accidentally sit or step on them. - Sapa