Cape Town - Metrorail’s service had to be severely curtailed due to several incidents of vandalism on Monday and on Sunday.
"On Sunday, cable thieves attempted to steal critical infrastructure (5 metres of 4 pairs of cable) at Salt River. Their attempt triggered a high voltage surge that damaged the equipment room, several components housed therein and the uninterrupted power supply," Scott said.
"This morning cables were also vandalised and stolen between Kentemade and Ysterplaat as well as between Hazendal and Langa.
"As a result of this, various signals were unable to function, affecting all lines. Alternative and safe train operations had to be implemented."
These extraordinary measures include a combination of:
Stop 'n go manual authorisations;
Additional speed restrictions;
Various route deviations (inbound and outbound Wellington and Kraaifontein trains were re-routed via Monte Vista);
Short terminations; and
Train cancellations to create capacity on affected lines.
These alternative working methods are safe but inevitably extend running times of affected trains by at least 40 to 120+ minutes, depending on measures implemented, she said.
"Teams of technicians are working around the clock to repair as much of the damage as possible. It is anticipated that full recovery of all services could take up to 48 hours, conditions permitting," Scott said.
"Metrorail has condemned these acts of vandalism in the strongest possible terms. Despite a string of arrests and convictions, thieves continue to cripple train services by brazenly stripping critical infrastructure and inconveniencing thousands of commuters through their criminal deeds."
Metrorail management would like to thank commuters and employers for their patience and understanding.