Hopes rise as dummy of new train rolls into Cape Town ... on a truck

22 March 2019 - 14:43 By Sipokazi Fokazi
A mock-up of one of Prasa's new coaches arrives at Cape Town station on March 22 2019.
A mock-up of one of Prasa's new coaches arrives at Cape Town station on March 22 2019.
Image: Sipokazi Fokazi

Commuters at Cape Town station watched in excitement on Friday as a life-size mock-up of a new train arrived - by truck - ahead of the rollout of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA's new fleet.

Transport minister Blade Nzimande is expected to unveil the coach on April 2 to demonstrate the new fleet's sophisticated features.

The new trains, which are due to be launched this year, will have CCTV cameras and devices that allow emergency communication between passengers and the driver.

Gerald January, of Elsies River, who watched the mock-up being unloaded in the station courtyard, said he hoped the new trains would improve the commuter service.

Since he started using trains in 1976, service had never been as bad as it was now, he said.

"Every day we are late for work because trains are either late or broken down. Maybe when the new fleet is introduced things will improve, and trains will hopefully be a lot safer than they are now," he said.

Sarah Fortein, of Eerste River, said even though she woke early to catch a 5.30am train, she was always late for work.

"Just yesterday I arrived at work only at 8.50am instead of at 7am because trains came late. I hope with the introduction of new trains things will change. What I see here today gives me hope," she said.

Lester Kok, of Eerste River, who works as a cleaner in the city centre, was not as optimistic. "What difference will new coaches make when we still have a problem of cables that are vandalised every day?" he asked.

"I don’t see how the service will improve … unless the whole system is overhauled."

Lulama Nkohla of Khayelitsha said she was looking forward to travelling on new trains.

"Most of the current train fleet has malfunctioning doors, which makes a train journey very unsafe due to crime. We all know of incidents of people being thrown off moving trains," she said.

"The new trains will hopefully have strong doors to make trains more safe and protect us from cold and rain."