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Untu welcomes digitisation of CT rail network, warns more work needs to be done

Untu's Sonja Castens said that while there was this great digital system in place, not all trains were linked to it because the moderisation of signaling was years behind.

Prasa's Bellville Rail Management and Traffic Control Centre was launched on 16 October 2020 and will oversee all passenger rail operations, improve on-time performance and make the network safer. Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Transport union Untu has welcomed a new digitised control centre for the Cape Town rail network, but it has warned that a lot of work still needs to be done to stabilise operations.

Last week, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula launched the Bellville Rail Management and Traffic Control Centre, which sees Prasa move from a manual system to a digital system for the first time.

It cost R2 billion and will oversee all passenger rail operations, improve on-time performance and make the network safer.

Untu's Sonja Castens said that while there was this great digital system in place, not all trains were linked to it because the moderisation of signaling was years behind.

"Like we said last year when the president brought down the beautiful urban commuter train, we're opening up systems trying to create the impression that we are moving forward but the rest of the stuff is not linked."

She said that the central line, which has been closed for a year, was in a terrible state.

"The state of the central line is absolutely horrendous but even if you were able to start securing the central line, you've got a major problem - people, squatters are building over the railway tracks, using the mast poles as part of their shacks."

Carstens said that the Transport minister had committed to fixing the central line by this time next year.

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