Cops back on trains

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

A new railways police unit has been established to patrol trains and railway stations in Gauteng after an increase in "train surfing" and crime on trains.

The formation of the unit was announced yesterday at the Rand Show.

Enos Ngutshane, Metrorail's group executive for compliance, operational safety and security, said the company intended to reduce crime on trains by 15percent and to improve safety by 30percent.

"We want to have more than 5000 railways police in time for the 2010 Soccer World Cup to augment the more than 6000 Metrorail guards deployed in all regions," said Ngutshane.

Metrorail has invested R500000 in the education of 30 former "train surfers" or "staff riders" over the next three years. Train surfing is riding on the roof of a carriage of a moving train.

The company now has more than 200 "safety ambassadors" whose job is to stop train surfing.

Percy Ntsholo, one of the safety ambassadors, said: "I am proud to be part of this campaign because it will save lives."

Ntsholo said the safety ambassadors had already reduced train surfing, and crime on trains, considerably.