'Vandalism on rail lines alarming'

Signal cables on Metrorail’s busiest central line were damaged last week, wreaking havoc in train services.

FILE: Signal cables on Metrorail’s busiest central line were damaged last week, wreaking havoc in train services. Picture: Mia Spies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Rail Commuters Action Group (RCAG) says vandalism on Metrorail's Cape Town network has reached alarming proportions.

Former security guards contracted to the rail operator have been accused of sabotage by the company.

Signal cables on Metrorail's busiest central line were damaged last week, wreaking havoc in train services.

The RCAG says they are almost daily reports of vandalism on various railway lines in Cape Town.

The group's spokeperson Les Van Minnen says they understand it's not easy for Metrorail to deal with the problem, but his group wants a decisive solution.

"It's a catch 22 situation. The more the trains are delayed, the more cables are stolen and passengers are agitated. And then we get burning of trains and more and more vandalism."

Eleven stations on the Philippi line were forced to stop operating for four days after criminals destroyed more than a dozen signal cables.

Thousands of commuters in Mitchells Plain, Nyanga, Khayelitsha and Philippi were affected.

Metrorail says repairs to last week's vandalism will cost around R2 million.