So many commuter trains had been gutted by arsonists and vandals – I call it sabotage – that some train service have been cancelled altogether while the remaining ones are now making use of shorter trains, to even the spread. Train sets typically consisted of thirteen bogey sets but the average number now is eight.
Of course, the number of daily commuters have remained the same and this is leading to a bit of chaos. Trains now are so overladen that it is even very difficult to disembark halfway, or even to board, as door passages are crammed to the hilt.
People rant & rave and are angry, tempers flaring up and much is being said on social media.
It will take many years to repair or replace the train carriages that were destroyed, some which are motor carriages meaning that they have electric engines. These are very expensive to replace. The older 5M train sets were produced from 1962 and the newer 10M3’s date from around 1989 – I stand corrected on this – and then there are a few 8M train sets being brought back into service. Even the 1962-built ones could have served us well, had it not been for people who set trains alight, or slash seats, stealing upholstery material, etc.
As long as our national government does not properly fund and protect (why are our soldiers not protecting our trains?) the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa – PRASA for short – we will endure major discomfort. Plan accordingly.
I am Pete, an independent travel blogger and I do not represent any railway service, nor I am paid by anyone.