Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg- Hundreds of passengers were stranded on Friday morning after commuter service Gautrain failed to run trains along part of its route between Johannesburg and Pretoria and on the entire route between the wealthy Sandton district and OR Tambo International Airport.

"Due to a power outage, there is no train service between Midrand and Park stations and no trains from Sandton to OR Tambo. We urge passengers to make alternate transport arrangements until further notice," Gautrain said in mobile text message to customers.

Scores of frustrated commuters took to social media, blaming both Gautrain and state electricity utility Eskom for their failure to get to work and school on time, while others said they had missed their flights.

Eskom said on Thursday night it would implement what it calls stage 2 load shedding from 10 pm until Friday morning, involving the suppression of 2 000 MW of demand through rotational powercuts to avoid tripping the national grid.

It said it had lost three generations units earlier in the day and had to use emergency reserves throughout.

"As a result our emergency reserves are now at critically low levels and need to be replenished overnight in order to meet tomorrow’s (Friday's) forecasted demand in electricity," the company said.

Eskom, whose infrastructure is in a fragile state due to years of poor maintenance, was forced to implement load shedding earlier in the year and for a week last month as some of its generating units failed.

The company is also in financial dire straits partly due to mismanagement by former executives who were implicated in corruption, while several municipalities and state-owned power utilities from neighbouring southern African countries owe it millions of rand in unpaid bills.

African News Agency/ANA