There has been a great improvement on the number of train sets which are currently in operation compared to last year, according to Metrorail. Picture: Bongani Shilulbane/African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN - There has been a great improvement on the number of train sets which are currently in operation compared to last year, Metrorail Western Cape regional manager Richard Walker said on Thursday.

“We are currently operating 48 train sets which is an improvement from where we came down last year being 36-37 train sets. We last year visited our contractors to get a commitment that now we are going to bring additional train sets back into the system,” he said.

Walker and Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant, along with the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for transport, Felicity Purchase, held a first quarterly briefing conference on the progress of the Rail Enforcement Unit (REU) in Cape Town.

The unit which is jointly funded by the Western Cape Government, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and the City of Cape Town was launched by Transport Minister Blade Nzimande in October last year as a force multiplier to bolster the Western Cape’s fight against metal theft and crimes in rail precincts.

According to Walker, since its launch, the unit has participated in 133 joint operations and made 166 arrests and confiscated hundreds of meters of cabling, dangerous weapons, and other items in the course of the 11,041 searches conducted.

Walker added that plans and commitments were to bring about 60 train sets back into the system between March and April. 

“Our plan is to push and come as close as 60 trains sets end of March to the middle of April. And I think I must correct this, there has never been a situation where we stopped bringing back coaches into the service, it was just the issue that we had a situation where the losses to arson and losses to vandalism just outstripped the number of coaches we were working to bring back.

“Therefore, this intervention is so critical to make sure we secure the system so that we can protect what we bring into the system,” he added.

African News Agency (ANA)