The new and improved Prasa train model. Picture: Masi Losi/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) is ready to test its new trains for passengers in Cape Town ahead of the new fleet’s complete roll-out.

According to sources, the unveiling of the mock-up trains would be held at the Cape Town station, Platform 24 on April 2, by Transport Minister Blade Nzimande. The mock-up will be of a single coach that will be used to demonstrate the train’s new and unique features to the public.

These features include CCTV cameras, on-board communications between the driver and commuters, emergency communications for disabled passengers and air conditioning, to name a few.

United National Transport Union spokesperson Sonja Carstens said they were excited to receive the news and were glad to hear that the new stock would be deployed in the Western Cape.

Carstens said according to the information they had received, the train would be safe and fire-proofed. “We thoroughly believe it is a step in the right direction,” Carstens said.

United Commuters Voice spokesperson Joao Jardim said the new trains would be here only for testing.

“As we all know, there were issues that need to be dealt with in Metrorail or Prasa, such as commuter buy-in and vandalism, among a myriad of other issues,” Jardim said.

One issue faced by Metrorail was the rolling out of CCTV cameras at Prasa properties across the province.

In October last year, the Prasa board presented to Parliament’s committee on transport a 58-page document titled “Interventions to Recover the Service”, and said part of their “Get-On-Track-Rescue-Plan” was to expand CCTV surveillance in high-risk areas and roll it out at all stations.

According to Rapid Rail Police Unit head Bonginkosi Solucotho - who also did a presentation on rail policing and its challenges last year, before the provincial community safety standing committee - CCTV cameras at Prasa properties across the province had not been operational since 2015.

Scott said on Tuesday Metrorail had 2817 CCTV cameras, of which 776 were not functional.

She said the cameras were installed at 41 stations.

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Cape Argus