Metrorail Western Cape sufferers another devastating train fire


22 April 2019


Metrorail Western Cape has suffered another huge setback to its train services as two train sets are torched.

The, incident which took place on Monday afternoon at approximately 15:40 resulted in the senseless torching of two train sets on platform 13 and 14 as high winds fanned the blaze from one set to the other.

The Fire and Rescue team arrived at approximately 16:15 while the actual blaze was extinguished at approximately 19:12.

All train movements at Cape Town station had to be stopped as a safety precaution.


A total of 12 coaches were destroyed, 2 Motor Coaches and 9 Plain Trailers. The estimated cost from Rolling Stock damages currently stands at R33m. Approximately 300 meters of centenary and contact wires which are critical to automate train control has been damaged.


No injuries either to staff or commuters were reported and the train service was restored by 18:54. SAPS Detectives were on the scene and along with the CCTV footage, a robust investigation is under way. Initial indications point to arson as the cause of the fires.


The fires are a clear setback to Metrorail Western Cape in its progressive improvement of its train set availability and to decrease overcrowding. The Western Cape has increased its available train sets from 39 trains in December 2018 to 56 trains with a further increase to 60 trains sets by mid-April 2019. In addition, the Western Cape has recently received two new trail trains as part of the next phase of new train deployments along with a R 9.1 billion capital funding allocation to fund the Western Cape’s rail infrastructure upgrades.


The bulk of this funding, R 3 billion to be exact, would see the region phase in thirty-five new train-sets, R 2.9 billion would be used to upgrade the maintenance depot, security and fencing/walling, R 1.6 billion for station upgrades and R 1.6 billion for the replacement of signalling.


A new Train Control Centre for the movement of Western Cape train operations is almost complete along with new and upgraded train signals in order to automate train movements.


"The strength of the Modernisation Programme and the deployment of the trial trains lies in the protection and preservation of our assets. The serious rate of the destruction of PRASA property is indeed a setback and an affront to tax payers that fund such government programs for all South Africans" said Ms Khanyisile Kweyama, Chairperson of the PRASA Board of Control.


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