Train commuters on the Northern Line are in for a rough ride when they return to work today, after eight carriages were destroyed and three badly damaged at Kraaifontein train station on Saturday night.
Metrorail believes it was a deliberate arson attack.
A commuter, who lives opposite the station, woke up coughing in the middle of the night and heard a strange grinding sound.
“I had left my window open and when I looked up, the entire world outside was lit,” said the mother who asked not to be identified.
“By then the fire engines had arrived and were heading towards the blaze to put it out.
“I was in shock and only after going out and checking, I checked if my husband and children were fine.
“This is the work of those bastards who never need to take the train. They do not worry about the next person.”
Metrorail regional manager Richard Walker says commuters who travel on the Kraaifontein-Muldersvlei route will be most affected by the damage.
“This act of clear vandalism follows after two adjoining trains on Cape Town platform 11 and 12 were set alight last week, directly affecting the service routes,” he says.
“The cause of the fire has not been determined as yet, but the ongoing battle between disgruntled staff and Metrorail is a factor not being overlooked.
“It is unfortunate that commuters on the Northern Line will be the worst affected and we will definitely see the impact of this [today] when holidaymakers return to work.”
Walker says while the exact extent of the damage is yet to be determined, it is believed the cost will run into the millions.
“After all the dust settles, workers, students and learners are the ones who suffer the most,” he adds.
Walker says Metrorail will have to fork out to rebuild what has been destroyed and minimise disruptions on the routes.
He says the rail company, which is already under pressure from acts of vandalism by copper thieves, has done its best to do damage control.
“There is also damage to the overheard infrastructures, electric tractions and wires under which the trains were standing as well, so the damage is extensive,” says Walker.
He says the incident is currently under investigation.