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Something new, something blue: Ramaphosa unveils modern trains in Cape Town

The president boarded one of two new trains from Cape Town to Mowbray on Tuesday afternoon.

President Cyril Ramaphosa attended the unveiling of new trains in Cape Town, on 9 April 2019. Picture: @CapeTownTrains/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa believes government is making rail transport safer and more efficient in the Western Cape.

He boarded one of two new trains from Cape Town to Mowbray on Tuesday afternoon.

Prasa has unveiled the new models that form part of its modernisation programme.

After cutting the ribbon on the platform, Ramaphosa hopped onto one of the brand new trains.

The blue and grey carriages feature CCTV cameras, electronic displays and can accommodate up to 1,200 people in six coaches.

But these trains will not be on the Cape rail network soon. The project is only in the testing phase.

Prasa plans on introducing 35 trains by 2020.

Ramaphosa said: “We are going to make sure that our trains run on time and are safe, which I’ve discussed with the minister and chairperson of the board.”

Speaking about the specialised rail unit and other efforts in making the rail network safer, Ramaphosa said it was important for local and provincial government to work together.

Meanwhile, picketers blocked Ramaphosa's convoy from leaving the Cape Town train station precinct.

The demonstrators from lobby group Unite Behind have been demanding to speak to Ramaphosa regarding the state of the rail service.

Unite Behind’s Zackie Achmat explained: “You get stuck (on a train) and your pay gets docked. You get stuck and you face a disciplinary hearing. You get stuck and you feel unsafe. Your sister gets on the train and she gets mugged. Your brother gets on the train and he is robbed. Your mother gets on the train and she’s sexually harassed. Please ask the president to come out to speak to us.”

Placards read "President we have questions" and "We are losing our loved ones, fix our trains".

Police have since forced the picketers out of the way.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)