Care needed at railway zones

Rodney Leak, Plumstead

It is with regret that we read of the death of a youngster on the railway line on Monday March 14 (“Salt River pupil hit by train”, Bulletin, March 17).

How he gained access to and why he was there will never be known. Had he used the short cut over the Rockley Road bridge, between Castletown and Lester Road, that has over time been created by the disrepair fencing, this tragedy may have been avoided and may now galvanise the authorities (both the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa – PRASA – and the City of Cape Town) into doing something about this danger and eyesore of collapsing infrastructure.

We have previously reported the poor infrastructure and maintenance of Prasa property around the Wittebome station precinct particularly the severely damaged Castletown Road fence either side of Rockley Road, and the inadequate clearing of dead vegetation and waste (dumping and littering).

Residents of Vine Road have also repeatedly made similar reports, including complaints of anti-social behaviour in the area.

The appointed cleaning contractor has, again, only cut the grass up to and opposite the mosque in Castletown Road – why not to the corner and the other side of Rockley Road – and removed litter and vegetation.

Previous responses from Prasa/Metrorail have proved to be totally inadequate. The local sub-council were quick to give Prasa the go-ahead for a mast with a clutch of antenna at Wittebome in spite of complaints. Why was there no trade-off in return? There certainly has been no gain for local residents.

Where to now?

* Metrorail corporate affairs manager Zino Mihi responded:

Metrorail does its utmost to replace/mend fencing as soon as it is damaged – regrettably it can only do so within the confines of resources available to it. This is within the context that the purpose of railway fencing is to primarily demarcate boundaries and fencing will not deter willful entry.

In many instances the fencing is still serviceable for its intended purpose. Fencing replacement and repairs are planned and prioritised annually in terms of urgency/necessity and implemented according to available funding. Due to the vastness of the region and resources available, replacement/repair has to be prioritised against other pressing and equally valid projects.