Cop­per thieves de­lay city’s trains

Cape Times - - WORLD NEWS - Lon­wabo Marele lon­wabo.marele@inl.co.za

CA­BLE theft at Metro­rail train sta­tions around the city led to trains be­ing de­layed by 60 min­utes yes­ter­day.

Metro­rail spokesper­son Riana Scott said sev­eral in­ci­dents of overnight ca­ble theft at strate­gic lo­ca­tions such as Mu­tual, Wood­stock and Woltemade af­fected Metro­rail’s cen­tral train traf­fic con­trol cen­tre from where trains are tracked elec­tron­i­cally.

She said due to the ab­sence of au­to­mated track­ing, train move­ment de­faulted to a safe but man­ual process of au­tho­ri­sa­tion yes­ter­day, lead­ing to de­lays of 60 min­utes in the worst-af­fected ar­eas.

Plat­forms five and six at Cape Town Sta­tion were also tem­po­rar­ily af­fected.

Re­gional man­ager at Metro­rail, Richard Walker, said: “Metro­rail al­ready op­er­ates at re­duced ca­pac­ity due to old rolling stock and ob­so­lete in­fra­struc­ture – any ad­di­tional in­ci­dents of van­dal­ism have the real prob­a­bil­ity of bring­ing the sys­tem to its knees.

“De­spite daily oc­cur­rences of ca­ble theft or van­dal­ism and more than 20 ar­rests since July this year, no sig­nif­i­cant shift in crime pat­terns have been de­tected,” said Walker.

“We con­tinue to ar­rest cul­prits, yet the train ser­vice re­mains com­pro­mised and our com­muters con­tinue to suf­fer in­con­ve­nience as crim­i­nals seem­ingly con­tinue to flour­ish with a ready mar­ket for sec­ond­hand cop­per.

“Ca­ble theft re­mains the sin­gle big­gest con­trib­u­tor to un­re­li­able and un­pre­dictable ser­vice, the sooner au­thor­i­ties clamp down on sup­ply (thieves) and de­mand (scrap deal­ers), the sooner the train ser­vice can be sta­bilised,” he said.

Due to on­go­ing van­dal­ism at Khayelit­sha and Chris Hani to train car­riages, only two of four rail tracks were op­er­at­ing. Walker said Metro­rail’s re­li­a­bil­ity and avail­abil­ity in area cen­tral will con­tinue to suf­fer un­til van­dals are stopped in their tracks.

Walker warned that the Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa) mod­erni­sa­tion pro­gramme in the prov­ince is likely to be jeop­ar­dised un­less con­certed ef­forts are made to cur­tail van­dal­ism of state as­sets.

Tech­ni­cal teams were on site im­me­di­ately to do tem­po­rary re­pairs to main­tain mo­bil­ity un­til full re­cov­ery of the train ser­vice dur­ing off-peak.

‘We con­tinue to ar­rest cul­prits, yet the train ser­vice re­mains com­pro­mised’

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