Train delays solved for now

Long delays along the southern end of the Simon’s Town line ended over the weekend when a mast pole, blown over by the wind, was reinstated.

Metrorail spokeswoman Riana Scott said the pole had been blown over between St James and False Bay stations on October 6.

Mast poles are the steel and concrete structures supporting the overhead traction equipment for train operation fixed onto large concrete bases built next to the rail tracks.

Commuters such as Echo receptionist Jannine Molenso left home earlier and earlier in a vain attempt to get to work in time. Last week, she left home at 6.40am and got to work at 8.45am – two hours later.

“It’s normally a 25 minute journey from Heathfield,” she said.

After the pole blew down, Metrorail technicians had rebuilt a replacement mast pole but were unable to re-erect it as initially planned, said Ms Scott.

“The preferred option was to have removed the existing concrete foundation and re-erect the new mast pole onto the existing base. When this proved impossible, the second option was to drill a sufficiently large core into the existing concrete base with specialised core drilling equipment.” Metrorail had to use an outside company of specialists to do this. The delay would appear to have been the time taken to secure the necessary service provider. “As a partially state-subsidised and fully state-owned entity, we do not have discretionary powers to spend funds at will. We are obliged to comply with Treasury regulations and follow due supply chain processes,” said Ms Scott.

After the core drilling was completed, Metrorail erected the mast pole and normal service was resumed on Sunday October 22.