Regulator supports suspension of train operations

Thursday, October 29, 2009
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) says it supports the decision by Metrorail to suspend train services between the Pienaarspoort and EersteFabrieke stations in Pretoria.

Metrorail, a division of Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), decided to suspend operations on the line effective from last Saturday due to the continued incidence of criminality and general lawlessness.

At the time, Metrorail said it was impossible to continue operations without compromising the safety and security of its staff and commuters.

In one incident a security guard and a commuter were shot and wounded on a train when a conductor asked to see tickets at Pienaarspoort.

RSR spokesperson, Lawrence Venkile, said the acts of violence, intimidation, vandalism and malicious damage to Metrorail's assets had become a daily occurrence and undermined the operator's ability to provide a safe service.

He added that these incidents had posed a serious threat to railway safety on a massive scale.

"It is on this basis that the RSR supports Prasa's decision to suspend a portion of the operations on this line as further operations before the situation is remedied would have resulted in a direct violation of our safety standards and requirements," he said.

The regulator had also noted that the infrastructure in the area was not suitable for modern commuter rail services would have had further safety implications if rail services continued there.

Prasa has put in place a number of measures in place to remedy the situation, including setting aside an amount of R230 million for the upgrade of the infrastructure.

Venkile added that they had an obligation to ensure that all citizens were safe and secure in the railway environment.

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