WC Metrorail counts costs of train fires

The railway operator says that since October 2015, 147 carriages have been lost to fires and vandalism.

The wreckage of a train at the Cape Town train station following a fire on 21 July 2018. Picture: Prasa

CAPE TOWN - Metrorail's services have been dealt a fresh blow following another train fire.

Five carriages caught alight at Retreat station on Thursday.

Metrorail says that it requires 84 train sets to offer an adequate service but only has between 45 and 50 sets. Its services are only operating at between 50% and 60% capacity.

Repeated fires and perennial cable theft have a massive knock-on effect.

In recent weeks, there have been five fires which have gutted trains in the city.

In one incident, a commuter died.

In less than a week, there've been two blazes.

Just on Saturday, six carriages were gutted in a blaze at Cape Town train station.

The railway operator says that since October 2015, 147 carriages have been lost to fires and vandalism.

On Friday, Transport Minister Blade Nzimande will see first-hand the damage to trains.