Passengers left 'starving' after Shosholoza Meyl train from PE to Joburg breaks down

09 July 2019 - 07:00 By ERNEST MABUZA
Passengers on the train from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg took 30 hours to reach their destination, after the train broke down in the Free State on Saturday.
Passengers on the train from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg took 30 hours to reach their destination, after the train broke down in the Free State on Saturday.
Image: Chuck Coker (Flickr)

Passengers on board the Shosholoza Meyl from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg's Park Station endured a far longer trip than they planned for when their train broke down in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Now the passengers want justice after they spent almost the whole day stuck near Bloemfontein after the train broke down between Springfontein and the Free State capital.

The journey, which usually takes 22 hours, took more than 30 hours as passengers were transferred from the stranded train to buses to complete their journey. One passenger claimed Shosholoza Meyl undertook the journey with a malfunctioning locomotive.

Gladman Monki said the train had a problem from its departure from the Port Elizabeth train station.

“It kept on stopping [at] awkward hours until the total breakdown on July 6 2019 in between Springfontein and Bloemfontein. We spent almost the whole day in the middle of nowhere.

“People ran out of food, young kids and elderly people suffering from starvation, people on medical treatment unable to take their medication,” Monki said.

He said Shosholoza Meyl came to the rescue around 4.30pm on Saturday when passengers were transferred from the train and to buses to complete the trip.

“By 5.30pm, they took us to the petrol station and expected us to buy food ourselves. Some of us did not budget for [a] two-day trip so couldn’t afford to buy food. Passengers who could afford it, bought for others,” Monki said.

He said the buses arrived at 10.25pm in Johannesburg, when most of the public transport was unavailable.

“They just dropped us and left us there in the cold on the station telling us there  is nothing they can do. Only three passengers were reported to be delivered to their homes, after the rest of passengers gave up and left the station,” Monki said.

Shosholoza Meyl had not replied to requests for comment by Monday night.


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