Firefighters spent more than two hours extinguishing a fire after a train caught fire at the Thornton station. Picture: Leon Knipe

Cape Argus - Four carriages were destroyed when a Metrorail train was allegedly set alight in Thornton on Thursday night, bringing the total number of train fires since October last year to 69.

Metrorail’s Regional spokeswoman Riana Scott, said on Friday morning the latest incident, at around 9pm, took 26 firefighters two and a half hours to put out.

Theo Layne, City of Cape Town spokesman for Fire, said the cause of the blaze was not yet known, while police spokeswoman Sergeant Amanda Gordon said no arrests had been made and a case of malicious damage to property was being investigated.

Scott said the estimates of the damage incurred would only be determined once Prasa’s assessors have investigated the carriages.

“There is no discernible immediate impact on customers today but it will affect service provision in future as we now have one less train-set,” she said.

In the past week, the train company came under fire after equipment was damaged which caused lengthy delays.

On Sunday equipment, including 500 cables and cable housing, was damaged by vandals.

As a contingency measure Metrorail introduced a series of train shuttles to deal with effects of the vandalism. The shuttle services were rolled out for commuters travelling to Pinelands, Ndabeni, Strand, Simon’s Town and Cape Town station, among others.

At the time Metrorail’s regional manager Richard Walker said technicians were working to normalise the service.

“Unless the public assists the police to bring the perpetrators to book, this type of sabotage will continue to impact the lives of hard-working breadwinners adversely,” he said.

“The vandalism was perpetrated by criminals with total disregard for the safe operation of trains and the safety of passengers.”

During the course of this week train delays have been reduced with the longest wait now at about 40 minutes in Lavistown.

Earlier in the week, Prasa released a statement on the provisional acceptance of the first train from Gibela Rail Transport Company. The New Rolling Stock Acquisition Programme would replace the current Metrorail trains.

The first train is said to be ready to commence with the Trial Run in preparation for operational service. PRASA said it was preparing to operate the new trains in a three-phased approach that started yesterday in Mamelodi.

Cape Argus