Passengers travelling from Johannesburg to Cape Town aboard the first Shosholoza Meyl long distance trip in two years had to complete the rest of their trip by bus due to the theft of overhead cables in Wellington, about an hour and a half away from their destination.
In a post on social media platform X, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) said the train arrived in Wellington despite the operational and infrastructure challenges experienced.
“The journey will be completed by bus due to theft of overhead wire cables. Despite these challenges, we remain steadfast in our commitment to revive the long-distance service,” Prasa said.
Prasa further reported that overhead wires were stolen between Kraaifontein and Muldersvlei, affecting the train trip.
“Prasa, Transport and Transnet Freight Rail will engage on how to effectively deal with the cable theft,” the rail agency said.
Prasa announced the resumption of its Shosholoza Meyl earlier this month. The service resumes following its suspension in 2021 due to operational and network infrastructure issues.
In a statement earlier this week, Prasa said reintroducing the service will not be without its challenges.
The service is currently available between Johannesburg and Durban and Johannesburg and Cape Town.
“The agency would like to highlight some issues that may affect the service and outline its commitment to address them,” Prasa said.
Prasa said the country is facing a shortage of locomotives and those available are unreliable.
“This may result in delays and in some cases, even cancellations. Contingency plans are in place for trips on all four corridors where the main line passenger service (MLPS) service operates,” Prasa said.
Regarding infrastructure damages, Prasa said the condition and quality of the infrastructure has been a concern and may impact the travel experience.
“Despite the challenges, Prasa remains steadfast in its commitment to reviving the long-distance service. Prasa plans to ensure access to locomotives and improve the infrastructure quality and availability in conjunction with our sister agency, Transnet,” the rail agency said.