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WC Metrorail fears latest train fire could be start of more attacks

From July to October 2018, Metrorail lost several trains due to fires in Cape Town, and Sunday’s incident has set it back once again.

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

CAPE TOWN - Metrorail in the Western Cape fears the latest train fire could be a sign of more to come.

A suspect is in police custody following the torching of two trains at Cape Town station over the weekend.

In 2018, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) told members of Parliament it lost R636 million to train fires over the past three and a half years, with the Western Cape seeing most of these incidents.

From July to October 2018, Metrorail lost several trains due to fires in Cape Town, and Sunday’s incident has set it back once again, with the destruction of 12 coaches.

Metrorail regional manager Richard Walker said: “Given the history that we’ve had since 2015, it’s alarming because we immediately think that this is the start of another couple of months of us being under attack and losing more carriages.”

When the problem worsened in 2018, the rail enforcement unit was set up leading to a lull in arson attacks.

That was until Sunday’s incident.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)