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Damaged overhead power line, NOT load shedding, causes Gautrain to be stuck in Sandton tunnel

Damages to the overhead was the cause of a Gautrain being stuck in a tunnel and not load shedding as many thought. File Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Damages to the overhead was the cause of a Gautrain being stuck in a tunnel and not load shedding as many thought. File Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Nov 9, 2021

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Johannesburg: Gautrain services have been restored on the East line after an incident on Tuesday afternoon where a train got stuck under the Sandton tunnel, resulting in 47 passengers being stuck for over an hour.

However, the operators of the Gautrain said a shuttle service was in place between Midrand and the Marlboro stations.

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They also said trains were fully operating on the North-South line.

According to one of the passengers, who spoke to television broadcaster eNCA, operators opened the doors of the train and allowed the passengers to walk under the tunnel until they reached a nearby train, after they had been stuck in the affected train for nearly two hours.

The stuck train resulted in operations being affected briefly, and some passengers had to be transported by bus as a result.

Bombela, the operators of the Gautrain, said load shedding was not the cause of the trains being stuck, but instead, the train had experienced a power failure.

Gautrain spokesperson Kesagee Nayager said of the cause: “We experienced a power failure due to a damaged overhead powerline which technicians are working to repair.

“47 passengers were aboard one of the trains that was stranded for approximately 90 minutes.

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“Three other trains were also halted by the power failure, but passengers aboard these trains were evacuated shortly thereafter as these trains were in close proximity to the stations”.

Nayager said safety was a top priority for the Gautrain service, adding that they follow strict protocols in cases where a train experienced power failure. These include evacuating passengers safely and only resuming the service once it was safe to do so.

In terms of the areas affected, she said: “The power failure disrupted the train service on parts of the North-South and East-West lines.

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“We are operating a train shuttle service on a single track between Midrand and Sandton stations.

“A bus shuttle service is transporting passengers between Sandton and OR Tambo and between Sandton and Park stations.

“The train service between Midrand and Hatfield stations has been unaffected and has been operating as usual.

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“Trains on the East line are now fully operational. A train shuttle service is operating between Midrand and Marlboro.

“Trains are also fully operational between all other stations on the North-South line,” she said.

She stressed that Stage 4 load shedding, which millions of South Africans have been enduring since Monday, was not the cause of the incident.

“The power failure has not been caused by Eskom load shedding.

“It has been caused by damage to an overhead power cable which our technicians are working to repair,” she stressed.

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