Rail infrastructure vandalism causes safety risk, train delays in Cape Town

6th October 2021 By: Reuters

Vandalism to fibre optic cables in Cape Town has resulted in delays across several main railway corridors.

Commuters have been advised to use alternative transport as the vandalism has resulted in a telecommunications outage that poses a safety risk to train services.

"The Western Cape passenger rail service is currently being disrupted by a telecommunications outage. The cause of the outage is a vandalised optic fibre cable on the Diep River line. The cut optic fibre has absolutely no copper inside. However, it keeps being vandalised," said acting Metrorail spokesperson Nana Zenani.

The telecommunications outage means trains in various corridors across the region cannot be automatically controlled at the Train Control Centre.

"When the automated panel goes off, the team cannot automatically see where the trains are to effectively and safely move them. The safety protocol when this happens is to manually authorise each train movement for safety. This creates additional travel time, which would otherwise be managed automatically by trail control," said Zenani.

Commuters have been advised to use alternative transport until the fibre has been repaired by technicians. Zenani did not give an expected timeline for the completion of repairs.

Last week, vandalism to railway infrastructure on the northern line in Cape Town caused the cancellation of several trains. The vandalism stripped the area of essential safety equipment.