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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Metrorail services suspended after freight train derails

Train commuters are urged to seek alternative transport this morning.

Metrorail train service operating between Mabopane and Garankuwa have been temporarily suspended after a goods train derailed in Pretoria North.

Train commuters have been urged to seek alternative transport after a Transnet Freight goods train derailed.

Metrorail spokesperson Lilian Mofokeng said freight train number 1410 derailed at Hercules in the early hours of Wednesday morning, 16 August.

“Metrorail train commuters are informed that no train services are operational this morning peak between Pretoria-Mabopane and Dewildt-Hercules.

Alternative transport

“Commuters traveling on the Mabopane and Dewildt lines are advised to seek alternative transport until further notice as technical teams are clearing the accident scene to allow safe movement of trains,” said Mofokeng.

Gauteng Metrorail management apologised to the commuters and their employers for the inconvenience the accident has caused.

ALSO READ: R60 billion needed to restore SA’s crumbling rail network

SA’s rail network

Meanwhile, the Africa Rail Industry Association (Aria) in April 2023 said R60 billion was needed to restore the country’s crumbling rail network, Moneyweb reported.

Decades of poor management, underinvestment and theft has transformed this once great national asset into a national crisis, chopping 2% off annual GDP and another 4% in missed opportunities, according to Stellenbosch University logistics professor Jan Havenga.

Aria chair James Holley outlined the deteriorating performance of Transnet, which in 2018 it moved 226 million tonnes (Mt), falling to 173 Mt in 2022.

“The implications for the future of the country are significant and we seem to be approaching a critical inflection point with regards to our railways. If we don’t change direction quickly the ramifications for our industry are very concerning, but perhaps more so are the consequences for the upstream economy,” said Holley.

Fixing the rail network has been debated for the last 14 years, yet there seems very little action in implementing a rail policy that has already been gazetted.

“Why then do we still debate policy?” asks Holley. “The time surely to debate policy was when the green paper and white paper were released for comment. We took 14 years to develop a progressive policy that can ignite the South African economy. Now is the time to implement the policy and no longer to debate it.”

Additonal reporting by  Ciaran Ryan Moneyweb

ALSO READ: Soshanguve train station stripped bare and abandoned

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