Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies catch the train

The Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies got to enjoy a train ride to Kalk Bay on the new “People’s Train”.

The Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies (BWL) were invited by the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (Prasa) on a train ride to Kalk Bay to experience the new “People’s Train”.

The train currently operates during off-peak times and, according to Keith Edwards from Prasa, it forms part of Phase 2 of the roll-out of the new train.

The central line has not been operating since 2019 because of vandalism, cable theft and land invasion. With lockdown, the damages to train stations and railway tracks were exacerbated.

Mr Edwards said various groups had been invited to experience the train with all its features. That, he said, was being done in preparation for when the train would run on the central line, once it had been restored. The central line runs between Cape Town, Mitchell’s Plain, Bonteheuwel and Khayelitsha, among others.

“We have engagements with different groups who live along the central line. We want people to take ownership, so that we won’t be sitting with the same problem once the central line is up and running again. What we are currently doing is practising resumption readiness. We want to mobilise as many people as possible,” Mr Edwards said.

Soraya Salie, the founder of the BWL, said the trip, on Tuesday February 15, had been rich with nostalgia, as many of the members were seniors who had used the train line in their youth to visit the beach.

“The day was well spent at the beach,” she said. “We danced, played games and had so much fun. We were told that this is part of mobilising the community to experience the new train and how we need to take ownership of the assets that their taxes are paying for. As an organisation, we cannot take ownership alone and need collaboration and partnership,” she said.

“We are thankful to all our partners for making this event such a great day.”

The excitement was high, as the Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies arrived at Cape Town train station for a trip to Kalk Bay.