File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Prasa to account for only 33 train sets being operational in Western Cape

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Jun 15, 2021

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Cape Town – Of the 88 train sets in the Western Cape, just 33 are operational, and 71% of all arson attacks on trains in the country take place in the Western Cape.

These are a few damning statistics revealed by Ricardo Mackenzie, DA spokesperson on transport and public works, on Tuesday, saying he welcomed the Passenger Rail Agency of SA having to brief the provincial standing committee of transport and public works on June 22.

He said this was due to years of neglect of the province's railway system, including trains, stations and railway crossings.

Wikipedia still misleadingly states that Metrorail Western Cape has 85 operational train sets, with 671 scheduled trains per weekday, operating over 460km of track to 122 stations and four halts.

’’The continued degradation of our rail infrastructure is an indictment of years of national incompetence and threatens the sustainability of public transport in the Western Cape. We need our trains up and running to contribute to economic recovery,’’ said Mackenzie.

’’Last week, I conducted oversight in the Steenberg area and noted that the railway crossing was not functional. The warning lights were not working, adding to the already problematic load shedding we all face as a result of Eskom. This is an extreme cause for concern as it provides the conducive environment for potentially fatal accidents to occur.

’’One month ago, the Democratic Alliance conducted an oversight visit to the Netreg train station in Kalksteenfontein. What they found was a station completely destroyed as a result of rampant cable theft and vandalism.

’’Many of the train stations along the Central Line are found to be occupied by criminals and serve as havens for drug dealing. Passengers are greeted with broken windows and missing concrete slabs which make up the platforms.

’’In Langa, for example, people have erected structures and have refused to leave. It is estimated that there are close to 8 000 structures to be on and around the train tracks.

’’This is why we as a province are bitterly disappointed, as it flies in the face of the MOU between the Western Cape Government and Prasa.’’

He added: ’’Trains remain the most cost-effective method in the public transport, particularly for residents who have limited incomes. As such, it is of the utmost importance that rail operations are restored to their intended capacity.’’


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