One suspect has been apprehended and detained in connection to a train fire that broke out at Cape Town station last week. The suspect was apprehended through the aid of CCTV footage.
The train fire that broke out on Sunday, April 21, has contributed even further to the rolling stock repairs of train carriages, which amount to an estimated R33-million. Thus far, a total of 12 passengers coaches, two motor coaches and nine plain trailers have been destroyed.
“The estimated cost from rolling stock damages currently stands at R33m. Approximately 300 meters of centenary and contact wires which are critical to automating train control has been damaged,” Metrorail Group Chief Strategy Officer, Dr Sipho Sithole, said to News24.
According to Sithole, the latest train fire is a “clear setback” for the progressive plans of Metrorail to improve its train availability and decrease overcrowding in the Western Cape.
“The Western Cape has increased its available train sets from 39 trains in December 2018 to 56 trains with a further increase to 60 trains sets by mid-April 2019,” he said. “In addition, the Western Cape has recently received two new trail trains as part of the next phase of new train deployments along with an R9.1-billion capital funding allocation to fund the Western Cape’s rail infrastructure upgrades.”
A bulk of R3-billion in funds will be allocated to the phasing in of 35 new trains sets. A further R2.9-billion will be used for essential maintenance depot upgrades, along with fencing, security and walling. A further R1.6-billion will be used for upgrades to stations, while another 1.6-billion will be set aside for signalling replacements.
The suspect, who torched one train that subsequently led to another catching alight, is expected to be charged with malicious damage to property once he appears in court.