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Train coaches worth $2.4m destroyed in blaze in S/Africa’s Cape Town

In the latest suspicious fires on South African trains, the country has lost two train sets due to fire that burnt the carriages to ashes at Cape Town Station, according to the company running the facilities, Metrorail.Metrorail regional head Richard Walker on Monday said two platforms at the station were also damaged during the blaze that occurred on Sunday, and warned that commuters would feel the knock-on effects of the incident.

“A [train] set was torched on Platform 13 and high winds immediately fanned the fire and moved to an adjacent train set. The final count now is 12 coaches with an estimated value of damage to the train sets alone of about US$2.4 million,” he told CapeTalk Radio on Monday.

He added: “Then, obviously, there is the further damage to infrastructure and facilities at the station as well.”

Western Cape Province’s Transport Minister Donald Grant told the radio station earlier that CCTV footage had captured images of two people at the scene of the blaze‚ who were initially apprehended by security but then escaped.

Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said in a statement on Monday that while the cause of the fire had yet to be determined‚ “the reality is that more than 40 carriages have been burnt in arson attacks since 2017‚ crippling the backbone of public transport in the City of Cape Town‚ and yet not a single person has been charged as being responsible for any of the more than 10 incidents over the past two years.”

He said Cape Town Central Station has been the target of at least seven separate arson incidents since July 2018.

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