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Trains on Cape Town’s Central Line suspended again

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Metrorail and UNTU blame vandalism

Photo of empty station
The trains on the Central Line were suspended again today. Archive photo: Tariro Washinyira
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Services on Cape Town’s Central Line which were supposed to resume on Wednesday after a deal was struck between management and employees, have been suspended again due to vandalism of infrastructure.

The United National Transport Union (UNTU) and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (PRASA) reached an agreement on Tuesday night to re-open the line. The train service had been suspended for almost two weeks due to safety concerns, after an armed security guard was shot dead on the platform of the Chris Hani Station on 8 January 2018. He was the fifth worker who had been killed on the Central Line over the past 18 months.

But according to UNTU, train services could not resume as planned on Wednesday afternoon because three substations had been vandalised and new signal boxes had been stolen. Technical teams escorted by armed guards worked until late to repair the damage, UNTU said.

But early on Thursday morning an empty train — except for Metrorail crew who were doing an inspection before service resumed — derailed between Netreg and Heideveld station. Nobody was injured, but the train was severely damaged.

Metrorail said technicians were on site to re-rail the carriages and repair the track. This could take several hours.

“Preliminary indications are that a vandalised points machine contributed to the derailment,” said Metrorail.

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TOPICS:  Metrorail