Gautrain disrupted, again
A faulty drainage valve and stolen cables disrupted the Gautrain on Tuesday for the second time in two weeks, the Bombela Concession Company said.
Spokesman Errol Braithwaite said the cable theft halted services between the Hatfield, Pretoria and Centurion stations.
The tunnel drainage pump alarm caused delays between Rosebank and Sandton.
It was the second time that cable theft had caused the Pretoria line to close, he said.
“This incident took place in a different location to that which affected train services last week, but unfortunately the same stations were affected.”
The cables were stolen on Monday night in Snake Valley, north of Centurion.
Braithwaite said the line between Rosebank and Sandton was inspected after the alarm and it was discovered that a temporary construction phase valve had malfunctioned.
“As this valve was only required during construction and has now been removed, this problem cannot reoccur.”
All services had resumed on Tuesday afternoon.
“ (We) share the frustration of commuters as a result of these incidents and sincerely apologise for the inconvenience,” he said.
The Democratic Alliance said it was concerned by a second failure “of the so-called 'world-class' Gautrain”.
“The excuse that cable theft is to blame has a hollow ring, especially when one considers that one of the most important questions posed to the department was: could the consortium deal with the high theft rate of copper products in South Africa?” spokesman Neil Campbell said in a statement.
He said assurances were given that cables would be buried under concrete, but it now seemed that not all cables were theft-proof.
Braithwaite said while most of the cables were underground, the thefts occurred where they came up to connect to the power system.
“The only way to prevent further thefts is to elevate this issue on a national level.
“If it's not us, then it's Eskom, or Metrorail, or City Power. The South African economy cannot tolerate this,” he said.
The Beeld reported on Tuesday that an access gate at the Centurion station apparently slammed shut on a 3-year-old boy’s head.
Cornell Tome told the newspaper that he and his family were returning from OR Tambo International Airport on Monday when his son ran to greet a family member on the other side of the gate
“He turned around quickly and started running back to us, when the glass doors suddenly slammed shut. They knocked him off his feet and shut his head in the door,” he said.
A security guard approached them when the child began to scream and told him that parents needed to train children to use the train.
The gate was opened and the child was freed. Tome said they battled to report the incident.
“We asked to speak to a station manager but there was no one like that on duty. We also called the call centre to report the incident and to bring it to their attention that the glass gates were a danger to children.
“They told us that they could do nothing about it and that this was how the system worked,” he said.
Braithwaite said he contacted the newspaper so that he could speak to the family about the incident, but received no response.
“Unless they talk to us we can't find out what happened and do something about it,” he said. - Sapa