Commuters stranded as cable thieves strike again

Tammy Petersen, News24

Cape Town - Train commuters were delayed for more than an hour on Wednesday morning following cable theft at Cape Town, Woodstock and Kraaifontein.

The delays were exacerbated by Transnet Freight Rail’s ongoing track repairs at Bellville, Metrorail said in a statement.

Spokesperson Riana Scott said repairs at Cape Town station were complete at 07:30 but residual delays would continue until off-peak.

“The technical teams are still busy at Kraaifontein. In addition Transnet Freight Rail is still busy with repairs to their tracks outside Bellville Station – the repairs were prompted by the Rail Safety Regulator’s directive,” she said.

“Initial estimation was that the work would be completed over a weekend, but this proved impossible due to complications.”

The result is that some trains serving the northern areas have been cancelled and others rerouted. There are platform changes at Bellville Station will continue until the repairs are complete.

Metrorail regional manager Richard Walker said at least 10% of delays and cancellations in the Western Cape are due to cable theft. About 200 incidents are recorded every year.

“The replacement costs amount to millions per year, but the cost of lost productivity, customer confidence and reputational damage is incalculable.”