Cape Town’s Central train line was one of the many lines recently suspended, after Western Cape trains left commuters stranded on February, 27. Minister of Transport Fikile Mbulula has announced that there will be a ‘phased re-introduction’ of the train service for the central line.
This plan will cost R1.4-billion to execute, as commuters in the area have reportedly been without proper service since November 2019. This line is used to serve commuters between Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha.
According to Mbulula, busses will be used to transport commuters along the Central Line as a temporary solution. “Government understands the frustrations experienced by the commuters who rely on the central line. It is well understood that commuters need to pay more for transport and take two or more modes to get to their destinations,” Mbalula tweeted.
Eighty busses will be used while the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) begins repairing infrastructure vandalism.
“Prasa spent approximately R170 million on substations and overhead lines on the central line alone to try and repair, but equipment and infrastructure are vandalised beyond repair again,” said Mbalula.
The Department will also build a four-metre-high wall along the train line to protect vital infrastructure.
By September 2020, 62 train trips per day will be available on the line, with a frequency of 30 minutes, Mbalula promised. Full service is expected to be restored by April 2021 and the minister promised 232 train trips per day, with a peak frequency of 10 to 15 minutes.
“Communities must work with Prasa to ensure the improvements are implemented successfully. During the period of closure, electricity in the area will be live. Communities must take care and ensure that children and animals are kept clear of the tracks.”