The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has announced that they are working on cleaning stations, preparing trains and readying the commuters railway lines that have been closed due to persistent cable theft and vandalism.
“Hercules, Mountain View and Pretoria North Stations cleaned today as a preparation for the service resumption,” the Gauteng Metrorail noted. Lines mentioned include Johannesburg to Pretoria, Germiston to Tembisa line, Pretoria to Saulsville, Pretoria to Mabopane.
Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula hinted on when metrorail trains will be back on track during his question-answering session in parliament on November 17.
“We are working around the clock to get the people removed and to ensure we get work going in the Central line. It is a huge setback for the working class.” Mbalula said.
Mbalula was initially asked about progress Prasa made to date in improving the commuter rail service and infrastructure development as well as securing the assets.
Prasa has a detailed recovery plan aimed at rehabilitation and replacement of stolen and vandalised infrastructure.
The affected infrastructure includes replacement of overhead traction equipment, substation signalling and stations.
“Progress in rehabilitation and recovery of services is at various stages across corridors,” Mbalula said.
He said the priority was on the Mabopane and Central line corridors.
“Work on Mabopane is nearing completion and is on target to resume services by the end of November. The Central line experiences delays due to removal of informal settlements on the track and with rail services in Langa and Philippi.”
He said other corridors are at various stages of procurement to appoint consultants and contractors to commence with the rehabilitation of rail.
Mbalula said Prasa has relooked at security deployment strategy including armed response in addition to its internal security operations.
“Prasa will deploy further 5 000 guards sourced through private service security during December 2021 which will bolster coverage of its infrastructure with both armed and unarmed guards based on security risk report.“
One of the new initiatives will see Prasa build concrete walls along identified rail corridors and around substations as an additional measure to improve security.
Mbalula said that these walls are set to be ‘impenetrable’ and ‘vandal proof’, will stand up to a height of four metres, and will be reinforced with additional security measures such as electric fences and CCTV equipment.
He said that Prasa has also relooked at its security deployment strategies, including the armed response patrol patterns, and will be hiring thousands more security guards to protect the valuable infrastructure.
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