A man has been arrested following the torching of two trains at the Cape Town train station. At this stage, it is unclear if he is connected to the fire.
Western Cape Community Safety Minister, Dan Plato, says the rail service in the province is at risk of collapsing and has called on the police to take action …
“I can tell you one thing if rail transport collapses a huge portion of our economy in the Western Cape will collapse. Many of the people do not have the necessary motor vehicles, the cars, to travel to work. We depend on rail transport to be effective, efficient and currently it is not.”
Firefighters are working to extinguish an extensive fire on two platforms at the Cape Town train station where six carriages are currently alight.
There has been no injury.
Metrorail has been plagued with numerous attacks on its trains and infrastructure over the last few months.
Last week, three trains were set alight, one at Cape Town station and the others were at Mbekweni Station in Paarl and Firgrove Station near the Strand.
The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Spokesperson, Edward Bosch says, “Upon arrival, it was found that two trains with three carriages each on platform 17 and 18, respectively were alight. There has been reports that the offices above the station deck are also affected, but the firefighters on the scene are currently investigating. Preliminary investigations indicate that the smoke at the offices is from the trains below. Firefighting is currently taking place.”
Meanwhile, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport in the City of Cape Town, Brett Herron, says he is deeply frustrated with the state in which the Metrorail service finds itself in.
At this stage, it is unclear what caused the fire, but Herron says there is a criminal element at play.
Herron has once again called on Transport Minister Blade Nzimande to take action.
“I’m very deeply frustrated that we’re not making any progress in addressing these attacks on the trains and the destruction of our rolling stock which is reducing the capacity to serve our people who rely on trains every day to get to and from work. We are facing an emergency situation which requires an appropriate response from the politician that is responsible for the rail service,” says Herron.