File picture: Bongani Shilulbane/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – Delays of up to two hours can be expected across the entire Cape metro network after Metrorail was forced to cancel 27 trains on Tuesday.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said on Tuesday it could take up to 48 hours, conditions permitting, for the network to resume full service due to several acts of vandalism.

"Our service is severely curtailed and this is due to several incidents of vandalism that happened between Sunday and today. 

"On Sunday, cable thieves attempted to steal critical infrastructure, about five metres of four pairs of cables at Salt River, and this attempt triggered a high-voltage surge which damaged the equipment rooms and several components housed therein as well as our uninterrupted power supply.

"This morning cables were also vandalised and stolen between Kentemare and Ysterplaat as well as between Hazendal and Langa. 

"As a result of this various signals were unable to function, affecting all of our lines. Alternative and safe train operations had to be implemented.

"These extraordinary measures included a number of stop-and-go manual authorisations; additional speed restrictions; various route deviations, for instance inbound and outbound Wellington and Kraaifontein trains were rerouted via Monte Vista; platform changes; short terminations; as well as train cancellations to create capacity on affected lines.

"These alternative working methods are safe but inevitably affect the running times of the affected trains by at least 40 to 120-plus minutes, depending on which measures are implemented.

"Our teams of technicians are working around the clock to repair as much of the damage as possible. From experience, we anticipate that a full recovery of all services could take up to 48 hours, conditions permitting.

"We condemn these acts of vandalism in the strongest possible terms. We also thank our commuters and their employees for their patience and understanding, and we encourage communities and commuters to report any suspicious activities near stations and railway lines immediately.

"Service updates will be posted regularly to all Metrorail's passenger information channels and we encourage commuters to advise and consult these regularly."