Train test for Stellenbosch and Eerste River lines

Technicians test the Metrorail train between Eerste River and Stellenbosch.

Technicians test the Metrorail train between Eerste River and Stellenbosch.

Published Mar 5, 2024

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Cape Town - Plans to revive Metrorail’s northern corridor were moving forward, as trains were recently tested along the Eerste River and Stellenbosch route.

The route was last in use in March 2019, when thousands of commuters travelled to Cape Town via Stellenbosch, Strand, and Eerste River.

Trial operations along the route started on Thursday.

Metrorail spokesperson, Zino Mihi, said the testing period, which usually took two weeks, was done to ensure the readiness of the line before the reintroduction of the service.

“For the past months, repair works on the line involved station upgrades, perway rehabilitation, overhead traction equipment repairs including signalling work between Lynedoch and Vlottenberg,” she said.

Metrorail intended to resume limited train services by next Monday.

“That will form part of the national rail recovery programme, following extensive vandalism to infrastructure during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mihi said.

She said the recovery process also hit a snag during September last year, that was exacerbated by flooding in Lynedoch.

“In line with the Railway Safety Regulator's permit conditions, the line can only be operational once the testing period is completed, including adherence to safety standards and regulations,” Mihi said.

Metrorail intended to run more tests during this week.

Metrorail acting regional manager, Raymond Maseko, said the resumption of the train services would bring relief to commuters in the Helderberg.

“We are looking forward to seeing our commuters return to our service. The service resumption is a huge relief to commuters residing in the Helderberg area,” he said.

Stellenbosch Municipality spokesperson, Stuart Grobbelaar, said recent testing along the Stellenbosch line was a positive move forward.

“After experiencing years of service interruptions and breakdowns in Prasa's operations across various towns and regions, it's pleasing to see that our persistent requests and meetings are finally translating into tangible actions,” Grobbelaar said.

Metrorail was reportedly also working on repairing the line between Bellville and Eerste River for additional trains to run along the route, with the Stellenbosch line likely to be the final stop on the recovery project.

Mihi said this would increase the train scheduling/ frequency on the line.

“In preparation for the return of commuters accessing rail services, Metrorail will ensure effective security deployment at stations and hotspot areas along the rail reserve to protect both commuters and assets,” she said.

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