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Two trains on fire at Cape Town station

09 October 2018 - 13:10 By Timeslive
Thick smoke billows from the Cape Town train station where two trains were set alight on October 9 2018.
Thick smoke billows from the Cape Town train station where two trains were set alight on October 9 2018.
Image: Esa Alexander

Thick clouds of black smoke poured out of Cape Town train station on Tuesday as two trains burnt fiercely as the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) briefed parliament nearby about the torching of its trains.

Eyewitnesses near the station posted images on Twitter of the smoke‚ billowing above the station.

Cape Town chief fire officer Ian Schnetler confirmed that two trains‚ consisting of three carriages per train‚ were burning on platforms 17 and 18.

Thick clouds of black smoke poured out of Cape Town train station on Tuesday October 9 2018 as two trains burnt yet again in Cape Town’s CBD.

The city’s fire and rescue service said it had responded to reports of a train “well alight” at 12:20pm at the station. Fire fighters then discovered two trains were alight.

“There have been reports that the offices above the station deck are also affected‚ but fire fighters on scene are currently investigating. Preliminary investigation (indicates) that the smoke at the offices is from the trains below‚” fire and rescue said in an update.

Four fire engines‚ one water tanker‚ a rescue vehicle and 24 fire fighters are battling the blaze.

Earlier on Tuesday‚ Prasa CEO Sibusiso Sithole told MPs sitting in parliament’s transport committee that it takes three months for the company to refurbish one train coach.

The burning of trains has resulted in a huge financial loss for Prasa‚ amounting to R636-million over the last three years‚ Sithole said‚ according to rolling updates supplied by the ANC Parliament Twitter account.

The company plans to expand CCTV monitoring and is liaising with police‚ amongst other measures to combat the criminality.

"We have realised that whenever we visit certain areas‚ like in the Western Cape‚ there’s always a train that gets burnt just before our visit. So we are working with crime intelligence as to why this happens‚" Sithole was quoted as saying.

This is a developing story.

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