File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Commuters had to endure delays of up to 60 minutes on Tuesday as Metrorail dealt with a pantograph hook-up, after electrical sparks damaged overhead wires on a train travelling on the Strand line on Tuesday morning.

It affected the up-line between Blackheath and Kuils River at 4.55am. Apologising for the inconvenience caused, Metrorail spokesperson Zino Mihi said technical teams were still hard at work in the afternoon to restore a full service on the Strand Line. 

Metrorail has arranged kombis for commuters between Van der Stel and Strand as an alternative transport measure.

Metrorail's woes have resulted in the rail service levels and the number of people using it to rapdily decline, leading to roads becoming more overcrowded with private cars, taxi and buses.

Cosatu in the province said the City must be forced to have the MyCiTi bus service available when the number of trains is reduced on a given day.

Cosatu provincial chairperson Malvern De Bruyn said it demands urgent action regarding the Metrorail crisis and expects answers from Nedlac during the Section 77 discussions being held with the union federation.

Metrorail’s safety was in the spotlight at the weekend when a commuter was killed and eight others injured between Lynedoch and Eerste River stations.

A group of armed men robbed the commuters of their personal belongings and then threw them off the moving train.

De Bruyn said it was “concerned about the attacks on the train system and commuters, which has left many people dead and many of the trains completely burnt”.

The union said the current situation on trains led to the train service capacity being halved from 18 months ago at just 49 sets. This is far short of the 124 sets required to run a full-capacity service of 10 years ago.