The national and provincial treasuries have received a feasibility study on the extension of the Gautrain rail network.
The massive five-phase project would put Gauteng on track towards full membership of the world’s fast-train league.
“The feasibility study report supports the principle of an extension of the Gautrain rail system and outlines the preferred routes that should be developed,” Gauteng roads and transport MEC Ismail Vadi announced yesterday.
The study proposes a direct rail line link between Lanseria Airport and OR Tambo International Airport.
Another would link Soweto and Mamelodi, east of Pretoria.
The project would create 211 000 jobs during construction and see R19 billion spent on procurement from black-owned enterprises. The Lanseria route would extend beyond OR Tambo, which is the current terminal station, with Midfield as a terminal.
There would also be a direct line from OR Tambo to Boksburg with a station at the East Rand Mall.
There would be stations on the Jabulani to Mamelodi corridor in Roodeport, Little Falls, Fourways, Sunninghill, Olievenhoutsbosch Irene, Tshwane East and Hazeldene.
It crosses the existing Pretoria line at Samrand. While the Jabulani line partly responded to West Rand residents’ longstanding complaints of being neglected in the modern public transport system, there is no immediate plan for a future fast-train line between Johannesburg city centre and the far West Rand up to Randfontein and Carletonville.
The MEC said the feasibility study considered transport needs for Gauteng from 2025 to 2037.
The network extension would provide significant economic and transport-related benefits to the province and the country. The study indicated that Gauteng traffic congestion would worsen by 2037, by which time cars would be forced to travel at 15km/h due to the doubling of car numbers. Tourism was also taken into consideration, hence the need for the linkage of OR Tambo to Lanseria via the Cradle of Humankind.
Vadi said the funding of the project would be facilitated by the national department of transport. Both local and international private funders would be accessed while innovation and world best practice opportunities would be part of the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the project.
“This is our dream of a world rail system to eventually connect our people throughout Gauteng,” Vadi said.
Gautrain Management Agency chief executive Jack van der Merwe said the cost of the project was yet to be determined but the feasibility study report had been submitted to government.
“We have done a feasibility study and the cost for the entire project would be determined after we finish the design,” Van der Merwe said.
With increasing numbers of passengers and peak-hour demand for the Gautrain, 12 new train sets were required. He said three companies – Bombardia, ERRC E-Loco Supply and Egoli Rail Consortium – have been selected to build 48 additional carriages.