Yet another Metrorail train caught alight on Tuesday, but the fire was so small that City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services were not even called out to control the fire.
The fire was started on a passenger seat, but was extinguished by Metrorail staff before it could engulf yet another carriage in flames.
Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson, Theo Layne, confirmed that the fire was started at 11.30am.
The recent spate of alleged arson attacks at Metrorail train stations have caused platforms 13 and 14 at Cape Town station to remain closed while repairs take place.
Crews began repair work on Monday after last Saturday’s train fire. Trains that usually depart from the affected platforms will be redirected to other available platforms.
Delays are to be expected on the Northern Line between Cape Town, Kraaifontein and Wellington.
The train fires have not just greatly inconvenienced commuters, but has set the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) back by million of rands.
Approximately 149 carriages have been lost to train fires since May 2015 – with six train fires being reported this year alone. This has severely crippled Metrorail’s operation capacity, as there are now only eight trains running along the Central Line.
The city of Cape Town has also stated that it would be coordinating a safety exercise at Monte vista train station on Wednesday, 1 August between 10.00am and 2.00pm. This exercise will simulate a rail disaster.
This exercise will be conducted in collaboration with the city’s fire and Rescue Services, Metrorail, Prasa, Transnet, the South African Police Service, the South African National Defence Force, Emergency Medical Services and City Services.
The scenario will involve a passenger train colliding with a goods train on the Monte Vista line, causing the train to catch alight.
A hazardous spill will also form part of the scenario.
The purpose of the exercise is to test the following:
– response times of the various agencies
– contingency plans for Transnet and PRASA with internal and external role player
– how the various role-players work together and to identify any shortcomings
“Members of the public are advised that a large contingent of emergency vehicles will respond to the scene. The public need not to be concerned as this deployment forms part of the exercise,” the City said. “The City of Cape Town apologises for any inconvenience caused and appeals to the public to please comply with any requests from emergency services staff on the day.”