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Lights out: Eskom cuts power to entire WC Metrorail system

The operator said no trains will be operating for the rest of Thursday.

A Metrorail train arrives at the Cape Town station. Picture: @CapeTownTrains/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The acting regional manager for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) in the Western Cape Raymond Maseko on Thursday said Eskom had cut its power due to non-payment, leading to the suspension of the entire Metrorail system.

The operator said no trains would be operating for the rest of Thursday.

Earlier, Metrorail stated trains were in a holding pattern due to the loss of overhead electrical power.

Metrorail said given the devastating impact of Eskom’s action in the Western Cape, urgent discussions between Prasa executives and the power utility’s officials were under way.

The loss of power across the region also meant that the usual operational alternatives such as electronic or manual authorisation, and diesel locomotives were not available, leaving 289,000 commuters without rail transport.

Maseko appealed to customers to be patient and to comply with Metrorail employee instructions.

“Every effort is being made to resolve the issue with our electricity provider to restore services as soon as possible,” he said.

Maseko said a cut of traction power was unprecedented and Eskom had declared Metrorail a priority user during load shedding.

A frustrated Metrorail passenger who lives in Elsies River said he was disappointed as he just bought his monthly ticket.

“I don’t know what to do because I don’t have money to take a bus or taxi,” he said.

Another commuter from Bishop Lavis said she didn’t know how she was going to get home because she relied on the trains.

“I am on my way home and my child is sick and now the trains have been suspended. We rely on the trains to get to work and go home, I don’t know what are we going to do now,” she said.