Johannesburg - Thousands of Gautrain passengers were left frustrated on Friday morning when a power cable fell onto the Gautrain tracks in Midrand.
Gautrain spokesman Errol Braithwaite said Gautrain services to the airport and between Marlboro and the Joburg CBD were disrupted after an Eskom cable dropped onto the tracks near the Marlboro station.
“It appears that the origin of the problem was a road vehicle which crashed into an Eskom pylon causing it to drop one of its lines across the Gautrain alignment.
“This resulted in complete loss of traction power to the trains south of Marlboro and towards the airport,” said Braithwaite.
“We have arranged alternative transport to ferry people, (but) there is a widespread delay and we do advise our customers to make use of alternative transport,” he said.
Although replacement buses were sent to ferry Gautrain passengers between the affected stations, there were delays and some desperate passengers were seen walking along the tracks to other stations.
Braithwaite said no trains were stuck in tunnels and only one train was stranded outside of a station.
This occurred near Marlboro station and the affected passengers had safely disembarked and were led back to Marlboro station.
One commuter, Sharon Seretlo, arrived at the Centurion station at 8am, only to be told there was a power failure.
“I had to call my partner to fetch me from the station and take me to the Sandton station to try see if it is moving,” she said.
By about 8.45am, the Eskom cable had been removed and Gautrain technicians were conducting safety and damage checks,
he said, adding that the fare gates were opened so people could travel for free from Pretoria to Midrand.
Many Gautrain passengers tweeted that stations were packed with passengers and that there were no trains.
People posted pictures of passengers standing in long queues at the Midrand station. In another picture train users are seen running back into the station after news that the trains were running again.
By 9am, power had been restored and train services restarted, said Braithwaite.
@NakoeII: Given today’s temperatures i was sort of expecting Red Ants to make headlines. With their evictions. Apparently #Gautrain didn’t disappoint.
@Just_Tinkies: Kante what are gautrain commuters paying for?
@patent05: Pple walkin on gautrain tracks after power failure brought th train to a halt!
@Ru_Gudda: Gautrain station looked like metrorail… watching people running for the train lol
@Zweli_Son: Stuck on the #Gautrain from in Midrand, apparently due to a power failure… how great
@NaadiraMoosajee: On the train this morning to Sandton and it is stuck on the track… just close to Marlboro station joys of using the Gautrain.