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South Africans angered by rail delays burn carriages in Cape Town

An official carries a fire extinguisher as train carriages burn at Cape Town station, South Africa, June 12, 2017. Protesters torched trains and smashed windows at Cape Town's central station on Monday in frustration over delayed travel services. Picture taken June 12, 2017. REUTERS/Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Angry South African commuters have set fire to train carriages, attacked shops and overturned vehicles in Cape Town’s main train station after hours of delays to services.

Eight carriages were set alight at the station on Monday night, the train operator Metrorail said. Video posted on social media showed carriages engulfed in flames, and smoke from the fires was visible from across the city.

Some shops in the main area of the station were also looted.

Metrorail regional manager Richard Walker apologized for the delays, blamed on a problem with electrical feeds, but condemned the unrest.

“We acknowledge that commuters have legitimate service concerns but we can never condone criminality,” he said in a statement.

As well as the fire service, police and private security services were called to the scene to restore order.

The train company reported that delays as a result of the fires were stretching into Tuesday.

Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London; Editing by Kevin Liffey