A train coach burns at Berea station on Wednesday night. This was one of two trains allegedly set alight in Durban. Picture: Rescue Care

Durban - Two trains belonging to Metrorail were set alight in Durban on Wednesday allegedly by irate passengers.

One train was burned at the Durban station and another was torched at the Berea station around 7pm in what Metrorail has described as an act of arson.

At the Berea station, three coaches were set alight, one was burnt extensively and another suffered partial damage. The third had minor damage.

No injuries were reported and all the passengers made it out before the fire engulfed the train. 

Thabile Kunene, the PR manager at Metrorail, said they believed the trains were deliberately set alight.

Video: Rescue Care


“There is still going to be an investigation, at this stage we cannot say who burned the trains and more details on the incident would only be made available today.”

Kunene said they believed the passengers set the trains on fire due to the delays caused by power failure.

Sunday Tribune Journalist Siboniso Mngadi, who was on the scene at Berea station shortly after the incident, said the train was bound for Umlazi township.

“When I got to the scene people said the driver of the train had gotten out."

“While some people said the fire was started by a cigarette butt, others said there had been issues with trains the whole day as they were running late.”

Trevor Stevens, the Division Commander of the Durban Fire, said it was hard to determine the cause. 

“It could have been an electric fault, but we did not suspect that someone could have deliberately set it on fire as it was very quiet when we arrived.

Stevens said when they got to the station, they faced difficulty in getting on to the train as the station was a short distance away from the platform.

“We had to put one fire engine at the top of the bridge and lower the fire hose down and start putting out the fire, we then put another fire hose through the railing fence."

He said it took them about 15 minutes to put out the fire.

The Mercury