Rehabilitation of troubled Mabopane-Pretoria railway network begins
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Pretoria - The rehabilitation of the Mabopane-Pretoria railway network to expedite a safe train service finally started yesterday.
The Passenger Railway Agency of SA (Prasa) and Metrorail have been under immense pressure to restore normal train schedules across the country after cables were stolen and infrastructure destroyed along various corridors.
Also yesterday, commuters who use the trains that were pulled by a diesel locomotive and did not use electricity began using taxis to travel to work. The route will be closed for 90 days.
Trucks brought in cables for contractors on site. Other teams will be repairing the rails and then finally the walls within the next three months.
Commuters who watched the start of the repair operations yesterday said they hoped this time things would return to normal because only a few people had managed to use the trains since the infrastructure was vandalised and stolen before and during the level 5 lockdown last year.
David Ledwaba said: “Some of us were using the few trains that were pulled by the coaches that did not rely on electricity. The trips were few and so most people were just using taxis even though they are more expensive.”
Prasa spokesperson Lilian Mofo- keng said: “In the next 90 days of construction, several companies will be working on different projects, including the rehabilitation of stations, resignalling, wall fencing, construction of footbridges, rehabilitation of traction substations and overhead track equipment.
“The closure will enable the free movement of big machines that will be utilised for rehabilitation of the overhead traction equipment.”
Mofokeng said Prasa was committed to restoring an improved safe, reliable and much-needed affordable public transport system to allow easy access to economic opportunities.
She said the immediate benefits of a new modernised infrastructure will be a safer, faster, smoother and world class train service with improved travelling times.
Acting Metrorail spokesperson in Gauteng Tony Games said the last train make its trip on the route on Friday.
“Management apologises for any inconvenience that this temporary shutdown might cause and commuters are advised to seek alternative transport during the construction period,” he said.