South Africa’s famous Blue Train has been temporarily suspended over what officials described as safety concerns.
Transnet, a department charged with moving imported and exported goods from the seas inland, confirmed the suspension takes effect today, Monday, February 14, until further notice.
In a letter dated February 12, Transnet cited recent “unfortunate incidents” as the reason for suspending the Blue Train operations. The focus is first on safety, according to the body, and the temporary suspension of operations is to conduct a full analysis following some mishaps.
After a derailment in November, a coach had been taken for repairs. While in for repairs, a fire had broken out. The derailment is still being investigated, according to Transnet spokesperson Ayanda Shezi, and it’ll be completed soon.
Reports indicate that although the Blue Train service may have been suspended, staff are not going to be laid off. They will be redeployed to the depot and offices until further notice.
Until its suspension, Blue Train, which fancied itself as a window into the soul of South Africa, was nationally and globally famous. Considered one of the most luxurious train journeys in the world, the Blue Train makes a journey of over 1000 kilometers between Pretoria and Cape Town.