Prasa trains in yards near the Nelson Mandela Bridge and Park Station. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town - The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has planned interventions on all Metrorail and Shosholoza Meyl services struck by vandalism, and which resulted in massive disruption to commuter services.

Prasa spokesperson Nana Zenani said diesel locomotives would be used in areas with no overhead power to run trains, and security deployments have been updated to focus on the crime hotspots, while all procurement contracts for spares and other crucial services are being expedited to shorten the waiting period.

“Passenger rail services are facing a bleak start to the year, with most services cancelled or temporarily suspended until the problem is under control,” Zenani said.

Prasa acting chief executive Zwelakhe Mayaba said: “A functional electrical line is crucial in delivering a reliable service. As it stands, our electrical lines are being vandalised and stolen, creating an unpredictable operational pattern for both ourselves as the service providers and customers.”

The enormity of rebuilding substations and related support infrastructure cannot be underestimated and there simply are no quick fixes, Mayaba said

In the Western Cape, train services were suspended last year on two of its three Central lines: the Cape Town - Chris Hani (Khayelitsha) and Cape Town - Kapteinsklip (Mitchells Plain). Metrorail said continued theft of rail components and immeasurable damage to crucial infrastructure, in particular overhead electrical lines, made it difficult to render a safe service.

The Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain services remained suspended, Zenani said, adding that a date of reinstatement is not yet determined. The Sarepta-Bishop Lavis via Bellville line was operational.


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