One person has been arrested on suspicion of starting a fire on a Metrorail train at Cape Town station on Tuesday. The suspect was apprehended after an eyewitness alerted station security. “Our employees are on high alert. Their quick action today prevented another carriage going up in smoke,” said Metrorail regional manager Richard Walker.

He added that the help of the eyewitness, police and other law enforcement services were on scene and detained a suspect. The fire was extinguished before it could raze the the entire carriage, and caused damage to only a passenger seat.

This the seventh fire that was started on a Metrorail train this year, and broke out on platform 11, just minutes after platforms 13 and 14 were reopened following last Saturday’s train fire.

Last Saturday, two carriages were allegedly torched on platforms 15 and 16 – the same platforms where a fire broke out on one train on Saturday, 21 July.

This latest attempt at setting a train alight happened while Metrorail and police officers were having a meeting in their control room about a security plan when the fire broke out.

“We have received more intelligence since March this year than ever before. I commend those who do the right thing to help eradicate crime from their communities – we encourage them to continue helping us in this fight,” Walker said.

Metrorail Western Cape has reported that 33 arrests were made for a range of offences during July.

There has been a month of unprecedented train torching. This month, three incidents were recorded – two at Cape Town Station affecting four platforms.

“The spate prompted a Ministerial visit, stakeholder engagement and the expansion of the task team investigating the burnings. A fourth attempt was swiftly prevented yesterday on Cape Town Station,” said Riana Scott, Metrorail spokesperson.

This graphic illustrates how many train fires have broke out over the past few years (Source: Supplied/Metrorail)


July Number of arrests Offences SAPS Charge Offices
Week 1-7 2 Attempted robbery RRPU Cape Town
Week 8-14 11 In possession of dangerous weapon

In possession of illegal substance


Cable theft

Malicious damage to property






RRPU Retreat


Week 15-21 8 Possession of stolen property

Damage to essential infrastructure

Possession of illegal substances




Somerset West


Cape Town Station

Week 22- 31 11 Robbery

Malicious damage to property

In possession of illegal substances

In possession of firearm

Attempted theft




Cape Town



Total 33

All tip-offs are investigated and information received treated as confidential. A reward of up to R25 000 is payable for information leading to a successful conviction. The following numbers may be contacted:

Metrorail Protection Services hot-line – (021) 449 4336/5056

SAPS Crime Stop – 0860 10111

Crime line – Sms 32211

Picture: Twitter

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.