Prasa sets objectives as it works to get CT central line fully operational again

Prasa has introduced a service recovery programme aimed at fixing the infrastructure along the corridor and the rehabilitation of the power supply network.

The informal settlement of Lockdown has sprung up on and around the Metrorail's central line in Philippi, Cape Town. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) said that it was hard at work trying to fix the central line in Cape Town, which has been closed since November 2019.

Services were suspended due to high levels of theft and vandalism of railway infrastructure and hundreds of people have occupied areas along and on top of the railway tracks.

Prasa has introduced a service recovery programme aimed at fixing the infrastructure along the corridor and the rehabilitation of the power supply network.

The rail agency briefed the provincial standing committee on Transport and Public Works on Tuesday.

Prasa said that their first objective was to restore train services between Langa and Chris Hani stations, the Langa and Kapteinsklip stations and from Bonteheuwel to Belville.

But first the illegal settlements had to be removed and the area cordoned off by building a wall.

Prasa’s Richard Walker explained: "We can't just remove people without fencing off that area, then we'll sit with the same problem. However, our progamme will not be interrupted. Should there be a delay, there are enough areas that are not populated where we will immediately start walling there."

He said that work on rehabilitating the power supply system had already started with the awarding of tenders. Walker said that other critical infrastructure work could only be done once people move off the tracks.

"The rehabilitation of the power infrastructure, which means we need to bring the track back to a condition which is safe for operation and we can only do those inspections once these dwellings have been removed."

He said that all this work came at a high cost.

Talks with the City of Cape Town and the provincial government on alternative land were still underway.

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