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PRASA condemns the senseless destruction of its trains

 

23 July 2018

 

Saturday 21st July 2018, 2 trains caught fire at Cape Town station. Whilst the reasons behind the fire are still sketchy, it is reported that one train arrived at the station, at platform 15, with one of the coaches already on fire. Other reports suggest that the train was set alight when passengers got off the train when it arrived at the station.

Unfortunately the burning train stopped adjacent platform 16 where another train was stationary, which also caught fire.

A total of 7 coaches, 2 motor coaches and 5 plain trailers, were completely destroyed due to the fire.

It is reported that the fire was spotted by 3 teenagers who alerted security as passengers were already disembarking. Train guards, together with security, tried to extinguish the fire, but at that time more coaches had already caught fire including the one parked at platform 16.

 

On hearing the news, The Chairperson of PRASA Board of Control , Ms Khanyisile Kweyama said, “We do not want to speculate about the cause of this unfortunately incident at this point in time. However, we are seriously concerned about what appears to be a pattern of train fires in the Western Cape. PRASA has, in the last few months, been hard at work to try and recover the service in the Western Cape, particularly the Central Line, and this incident sets us backward. If there is an element of criminality surrounding this latest incident, it is the most senseless act against the only public transport system that is affordable to the masses of commuters who rely on this service”.

 

The Group CEO of PRASA, Mr. Sibusiso Sithole, also responded with absolute dismay and said, “Just a few weeks ago, I visited the Region with the Rail team to determine the amount of work that we need to do to stabilize the rail service in Cape Town. We have already been considering deploying the new trains to Cape Town to bolster the aging fleet. Cape Town is a very important Region for PRASA because of the high rail commuter take up when compared to the rest of the 4 regions, but we are now seriously concerned whether it will be wise to send our new trains down there when the situation is still this volatile. I will be sending a high level team down to Cape Town to assess the situation and hopefully get to the bottom of what is really happening there”.

 

The estimated cost of the damaged coaches is approximately R30 million

 

More information will be published as it becomes available.

 

 

 



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