A train driver narrowly escaped a stone that a group of youths hurled at a train he was driving between Steenberg and Fish Hoek railway stations in Cape Town.
“The stone caused damage to the side window of the driver’s cabin which will now have to be replaced. More damage could have been caused and a commuter [could have been] hurt. Fortunately, this was not the case,” said Metrorail spokesperson Nana Zenani.
The rail operator opened a case of malicious damage to property. The damage is estimated to cost around R20 000.
Extensive repair works have been done to various Metrorail assets due to vandalism, she said.
In October, vandalism to Metrorail infrastructure in Cape Town resulted in more than R1 million worth of damage and shut down the False Bay section of the rail service for a week.
A week before that, vandalism to fibre optic cables in Cape Town resulted in delays across several main railway corridors.
In September, vandalism to railway infrastructure led to the cancellation of several trains on the northern line.
The stoning of trains adds another layer of difficulty in the delivery of services and “is intolerable to Metrorail”, according to Zenani.
“The assets were bought and are being maintained, using taxpayer monies. Metrorail will therefore relentlessly pursue the perpetrators of such vandalism,” she said.
“Metrorail is appealing to parents, local leadership and authorities to protect the people’s assets.”
Meanwhile, services are expected to resume between Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town railway stations on Wednesday, meaning that all railway stations beyond Retreat are now fully operational. This comes after repairs to the line were completed early.
“Metrorail had undertaken a series of repair works which include fallen mast poles at Glencairn as a result of weather conditions and natural corrosion and not vandalism. Additional platform repair works were also undertaken at Glencairn Station,” Zenani said.