Fri, 22 Sep 2023

"Did they burn the trains again?" asked a woman peering over a wall where firefighters were putting out yet another train fire at Cape Town station on Sunday.

"Tjho!" said another, shaking her head at the smoke billowing out from the platform.

Passengers stood outside at the entrances blocked by guards.

"Now how are we going to get home?" they asked, but soon trudged upstairs to the taxi rank on the roof of the station, where business continued as usual. Long distance buses were also continuing as usual.

"At 15:51 the fire services received a call of trains alight at Cape Town railway station," said fire services spokesperson Jermaine Carelse.

"We sent three fire engines, a water tanker and a rescue vehicle, and there were a total of 21 staff present.

"The fire has been contained," he said, adding that there would be at least another hour of work to extinguish everything.

On platform 13, four carriages were destroyed, and on platform 14 another four carriages.

WATCH: Two trains on fire at Cape Town station, CBD engulfed in smoke

There were no injuries reported and the cause of the fire is not known yet.

He said an investigation into possible arson will be left up to the SA Police Services and the Passenger Rail Services of SA.

Huge palls of black smoke were carried by the strong wind blowing through the city and the air at the station smelt of burnt plastic and rubber.

The trains destroyed were yellow Metrorail trains, with some of the graffiti still visible on the blackened remains of the coaches.

The station was also cordoned off with tape and the law enforcement and fire brigade vehicles parked around the concourse area.

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently took a squashed ride to experience the daily struggles of commuters relying on trains as the company battles coach shortages due to previous fires and cable theft.

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