Cape Town: Train alight in Blackheath on Monday night

Metrorail Western Cape regional manager, Richard Walker reports on carriages that were set on fire at Blackheath in Cape Town on Monday night.

At about 18.55 the train driver reported to out control centre that his train between Melton Rose and Blackheath Station was on fire. He immediately brought the train to a station to assess what was happening.

Richard Walker, Western Cape regional manager - Metrorail

The passenger compartment was on fire.

The flames were burning out of control. They tried to uncouple the coaches but unfortunately given the heavy smoke at the time they were unable to.

Richard Walker, Western Cape regional manager - Metrorail

Emergency services were called out.

But we lost the motor coach and the plain trailer.

Richard Walker, Western Cape regional manager - Metrorail

The cause of the fire is as yet unconfirmed. The full extent and cost estimate of the damage will only be known once Prasa’s loss adjusters have had the opportunity to assess the damage.

Walker says Metrorail is currently running 52 out of the 88 train sets.

But we have come up from as low as 38 train sets last year.

Richard Walker, Western Cape regional manager - Metrorail

He says the plan was to be at 57 by the end of July but this is scuppered by such losses.

Our ability to recover is always impacted by losing coaches on a regular basis...though the frequency has reduced with the involvement of law enforcement agencies.

Richard Walker, Western Cape regional manager - Metrorail

He says the criminals have moved now onto the Northern line, as this is the first incident there in a long time.

Walker says they have ruled out any technical causes leading to the fire at this stage.

The incident is under investigation, he confirms.

Listen to his interview below:


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