Train gets stuck between stations as Langa service to Cape Town resumes
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Cape Town – After more than a year of being out of service, the Langa to Cape Town train ride took off in traditional fashion yesterday, by getting stuck between stations.
The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) said that since October it had spent more than R1 billion on repairing the central line, which had been closed for over a year mostly due to vandalism and cable theft.
Prasa has also said it would seek an eviction order against people who have illegally occupied the rail tracks between Philippi and Langa.
Langa resident and commuter Nombulelo Mgijima said their first trip was disappointing.
“It's been a long time without the train service, the re-introduction will be helpful to commuters. We welcome the reopening but are still not satisfied.
’’As commuters we have been suffering for such a very long time because we had to pay taxi fares and it is a bit more expensive than the train.
“Prasa has not improved the service. They are still the same because the train got stuck while we were on our way to Cape Town. They have not come up with anything new after such a very long time.
“I was disappointed. We were at least expecting new developments but it seems like nothing will change and in no time they will again close the route,” said Mgijima.
Prasa board chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane said the resumption of trains had taken place after “long work by Prasa”.
He said Prasa owed it to communities to reintroduce a “reliable, safe and affordable public transport during this tough Covid-19 and economic times”.
“The board and officials from Prasa issued the illegal shack dwellers in Siyahlala informal settlements on Monday February 1 with 10 days' notice to vacate the tracks on the Cape Town central line in order for it to repair and resume the train service,” Ramatlakane said.
Prasa's move follows an engagement with the illegal occupants and the department of transport.
“The presence of illegal settlements is a major impediment to construction work on phase 2, Langa to Khayelitsha,” he said.