Like ships and aircraft are controlled by traffic regulators working from control towers, such as the ones at Table Bay Harbour or Cape Town International Airport, Cape Town’s trains are controlled from Windermere near Century City.
Metrorail’s automated systems have been sabotaged through vandalism and crime. It now means that train movements are authorized manually to comply with requirements set by the independent Rail Safety Regulator or RSR.
A driver approaching a signal that is not functioning, has to stop the train. He will then phone the Authorizations office at Windermere to get clearance to proceed. This takes time. Only once authorized, he may proceed, many times with a 30km/h or even 15km/h restriction. Cable theft, malicious damage to property and acts of sabotage or vandalism all complicate our lives and frustrate us. The important thing to remember is that decisions are made with your safety in mind. Rather safe than sorry, late than never.
Disclaimer: author does not work for any railway company, is not paid to write and opinions are his own.