Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott listed some of the contingency plans that are in place during power outages. Picture: Bongani Shilulbane/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The dark days of load shedding are back and besides the struggles of sitting without electricity at home, power cuts also have an impact on public transport. Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott revealed that the passenger rail operator does have  contingency plans in place during power outages.

On Monday, Power utility Eskom implemented Stage 2 load shedding but announced that it is moving to Stage 4 from 2pm until 10pm. This has huge implications for ordinary consumers and businesses alike.

Metrorail revealed that loadshedding also impacts upon its operations, but their contingency plans do account for this according to  Scott:
  • Tickets will be sold from portable ticket issuing machines;
  • Loud hailers will be used to make local station announcements;
  • Manual authorisation will allow trains to proceed. As all signals are dead, train drivers are required to contact the central control centre for permission to proceed safely from signal to signal, making is a time-consuming but safe working practice. Similarly to traffic signals that are affected by load shedding become four way stops, signals are considered RED until permission to proceed is given by Central Control.
"Metrorail trains operate on heavy current 3KV electricity off a direct Eskom feed. As a declared priority user, Metrorail has Eskom’s commitment that this heavy current electricity supply for trains will only be cut as a last resort. Station and signal power supply in municipal areas operate off a light current municipal power supply and may be affected by load shedding," Scott said.

Scott added that  loadshedding does, hypothetically,  make it easier for thieves to commit cable theft .

"Experienced cable thieves know how to short circuit electricity – hypothetically if load shedding should happen, electrical cables would be more prone to theft. It would be dangerous as there is no indication when power would resume and it could at any time."


Cape Argus