#CTTrainStation chaos: more Metrorail delays expected
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Cape Town – Following last night's chaos on Cape Town station, things are not looking good for Metrorail commuters this morning.
Metrorail said there were several cancellations on the Central, Northern, Cape Flats and Southern line "due to sets out of service" and delays of 30 – 40 min.
"The torching of two trains at Cape Town station impacts the train service. Platform 15 and 16 are currently out of service for train operations. Commuters are advised to listen for platform changes via the public address system and view changes on the electronic display boards," Metrorail said.
Frustrated Metrorail commuters went on a rampage, damaging and looting shops at Cape Town Station on Monday night.
Police were called in after angry commuters attacked Prasa staff and vandalised property after they claim officials failed to warn them about delays or offer an explanation.
Two trains were set alight. No injuries were reported.
#CTTrainStation train set alight @GroundUp_News pic.twitter.com/PpVQbapBJE
— Ashraf Hendricks (@AshrafRSA) June 12, 2017
Another train burning Cape Town Station @IOL @SABCNewsOnline pic.twitter.com/20NR6ZNuj9
— UCV PRO (@ucvwcpro) June 12, 2017
There were long queues at both the Cape Town taxi rank and Golden Arrow and MyCiTi bus stations as commuters tried to find alternative transport home.
It all started with a comment here and there on Facebook and other social media from early afternoon as confused people sat on trains going nowhere at nearly every station on the Cape Flats.
As it got closer to rush hour starting at 4pm, commuters in the Cape Town CBD started getting upset as the queues grew longer with no trains in sight.
One commuter says there was no warning, only an announcement that trains had been delayed by between 2 and 3 hours.
One commuter from Kalksteenfontein said he usually gets home by 4pm, but after a three-hour wait, decided to board a taxi at 7pm last night.
Bernie Leo, 28 says he was shocked to see the people start to fight with staff at Cape Town station.
A Prasa vehicle was tipped over, rubbish bins emptied and turnstile glass shattered. Shops on the station were also reportedly looted.
Picture: Phando Jikelo
“Nobody knew what was happening and people were moody. It’s pwasa (Ramadaan), nobody wants to be late home,” he said.
“People got agitated and started attacking the officials and then the building, they broke the turnstiles and flipped a Prasa car. Fights broke out everywhere,” said Leo.
Zainup Davis, 40, travelling on the Southern Line said she was shoved and pushed. She fell a few times but says people “just walked over” her trying to get into the station.
“Officials were shouting at us to find alternative routes, why after two hours? I don’t buy a ticket to get stuck. We are being taken for fools,” said the Parkwood mother.
Metrorail’s electrical power feeds experienced difficulties, leading to major delays. Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said between 3pm and 7pm two of the four feeds were unavailable due to problems experienced.
She said Metrorail usually has four 11kv power feeds available to it to operate the train service.
“The remaining two feeds were overloaded, tripping electricity and halting trains all over the network. The defective power feed at Maitland in particular affected all routes and ruled out the usual contingency of manual authorisation due to the high volume of trains on the network during peak. Some trains were delayed more than two hours,” she said.
Regional manager Richard Walker apologised to affected customers but condemned the destruction of property. "We acknowledge that commuters were aggrieved but no amount of inconvenience warrants such behaviour."
He said surveillance footage would be studied with the intention to file malicious damage to property charges.
Technicians managed to restored power feeds at 8.52pm.