Netreg train station is in such a state of disrepair, that it would cost R1 billion to restore it.
This is according to DA transport spokesman Chris Hunsinger, who was part of his party’s delegation which conducted an oversight visit to the station on Friday May 14.
The station, which used to serve the Bonteheuwel, Kalksteenfontein and Valhalla Park communities, has not been in operation since 2019. It forms part of the central rail service.
Cable theft, vandalism and land invasions, are among the reasons the rail services collapsed, but Mr Hunsinger accused the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) of not making any effort to turn things around.
“I have had several engagements with Prasa and several undertakings were made, but nothing has happened. This is against a backdrop of Prasa underspending its budget over the past three years. In the seven years I have served on Parliament’s portfolio committee for transport, Prasa presented 12 turn-around plans, yet I have yet to see one implemented. It’s a disgrace for the people,” he said.
In February, part of the central railway line was reopened, but only from Cape Town station to Langa station. The central line is supposed to run from Cape Town to Chris Hani and Kapteinsklip stations.
Bonteheuwel ward councillor, Angus McKenzie, said thousands of people have been affected by this.
“There have been promises made by Prasa and national government. In President Cyril Ramaphosa’s second last State of the Nation address (Sona), he announced that R1.4 billion would be set aside for a turnaround strategy, but our people have been failed. That money was not enough to restore the whole central line,” Mr McKenzie said.
“The situation was further worsened during the Covid-19 lockdown and Prasa pulling out of the City of Cape Town’s Rail Enforcement Unit. Thousands of commuters have now been left stranded and forced to spend more money on alternative transport.”
It is estimated that 70 tons of steel have been stolen from Netreg station, which includes the actual rail tracks. Mr Hunsinger said one metre of rail track weighs about 60kg.
At the time of going to print, Prasa had not responded to Athlone News’ questions. However, in February, spokesperson Bane Ndlovu told the Weekend Argus that the reconstruction of infrastructure “will be preceded by the erection of fencing in conjunction with a security strategy, inclusive of technology”.