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Still off track — Many Metrorail lines in Cape Town remain closed for commuters

Still off track — Many Metrorail lines in Cape Town remain closed for commuters
A Metrorail train is seen at Khayelitsha station, on 25 June 2019. (Photo: Sune Payne)

Although some lines have reopened thousands of commuters still have no train service.

Metrorail services in and around Cape Town have yet to fully recover from theft and vandalism that happened during the Covid lockdown period when trains stopped running.

Already long before the pandemic, the service was crumbling. GroundUp had been documenting Metrorail’s steady demise since 2013.

Cape Metrorail map

Cape Metrorail map. Red stations are closed. Green stations are open. (Graphic: Supplied by GroundUp)

The Central Line, which was the busiest and served commuters from the poorest areas on the Cape Flats, closed for three years, from October 2019 to March this year. Now partially reopened, 14 stations remain without any train services, including Chris Hani, Khayelitsha, Philippi, Heideveld, Bonteheuwel, Mitchells Plain and Lentegeur. Trains run from Nyanga but are not stopping at all stations due to “extensive damage”, according to Metrorail spokesperson Zinobulali Mihi. Skipped stations include Bonteheuwel, Heideveld, and Netreg.

Mihi said that Bonteheuwel and Heideveld stations “are still under construction”. The Netreg station has not been refurbished because “the structure of the building has been compromised”. The stations will be restored as part of the Central Line recovery project currently underway.

Another one of Cape Town’s busy lines, the Northern Line, partially resumed services again in March 2022. In January this year, the line between Eerste River and Bellville resumed.

The Southern Line partially reopened in July 2020, running from Cape Town to Retreat. It was reopened fully in January 2022.

Other parts of Cape Metrorail still closed include the lines running from Strand, from Stellenbosch, and from Worcester to Wellington.

There is a train running from Malmesbury to Cape Town via the Monte Vista line.

Mihi said that contracts for Strand and the Muldersvlei (Stellenbosch) line were awarded this month “to recover the electrification network” and that work is underway.

On Tuesday Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts will conduct an inspection of the Central Line. DM

First published by GroundUp.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Carsten Rasch says:

    The Mayor should nationalise the lines that the incompetents are unable to get running again. A symbolic gesture might be enough to light a fire under their places where the son don’t shine.

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